Bruce Jay Friedman


Playwright, Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Bronx, New York, USA
Born
April 26, 1930

Biography

Bruce Jay Friedman's brand of Jewish humor lies somewhere between Woody Allen's dark, paranoid musings and Henny Youngman's quick-fire one-liners. The author, screenwriter and playwright worked steadily through the 1970s and 80s, though his output has slowed with the 90s. Starting his career as an editor and magazine and short story writer, Friedman began writing novels in the early 1960...

Family & Companions

Ginger Howard
Wife
Interior decorator, actor, model. Married June 13, 1954; divorced.
Pat O'Donohue
Wife
Married July 3, 1983.

Bibliography

"A Father's Kisses"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1996)
"The Collected Stories of Bruce Jay Friedman"
Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1995)
"Tokyo Woes"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1985)
"The Lonely Guy's Book of Life"
Bruce Jay Friedman (1982)

Biography

Bruce Jay Friedman's brand of Jewish humor lies somewhere between Woody Allen's dark, paranoid musings and Henny Youngman's quick-fire one-liners. The author, screenwriter and playwright worked steadily through the 1970s and 80s, though his output has slowed with the 90s.

Starting his career as an editor and magazine and short story writer, Friedman began writing novels in the early 1960s and plays later in the decade. His most successful were "Scuba Duba" (1967) and the dark comedy/drama "Steambath" (1970), which was shown on public television in 1973. He turned to the screen in 1971 with "The Owl and the Pussycat," adapted from William Manhof's play. He went on to provide the story for Neil Simon's "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972) and to write the successful comedies "Stir Crazy" (1980) and 1982's "Doctor Detroit" (co-wrote and provided story). Friedman's book "The Lonely Guy's Book of Life" provided the basis for a then atypical Steve Martin vehicle, "The Lonely Guy" (1984). Neil Simon did the adaptation, while TV veterans Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels ("Taxi") wrote the screenplay for this subdued comedy. In 1984, Friedman enjoyed a major success with "Splash" (Friedman and co-writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel were nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay). As an actor, Friedman has appeared in two films directed by Woody Allen: "Another Woman" (1988) and "Husbands and Wives" (1992).

Friedman has not had nearly as good luck with TV. He wrote the busted pilots for "The Ted Bessell Show" (CBS, 1973) and "Sniff" (CBS, 1988) as well as the premieres of two shortlived TV series based on his work: "Steambath" (Showtime, 1984) and "Stir Crazy" (CBS, 1985-86).

Life Events

1951

Served in US Air Force

1962

Publication of first novel, <i>Stern</i>

1966

First play produced, "23 Pat O'Brien Movies"

1970

First stage success "Steambath"; produced off-Broadway

1971

Feature screenwriting debut, "The Owl and the Pussycat"

1973

TV writing debut, "The Ted Bessell Show" (CBS)

1973

His off-Broadway hit "Steambath" was adapted for television; was the first American TV program to feature nudity

1978

Wrote the novel, <i>The Lonely Guy's Book of Life</i>

1984

Adapted <i>The Lonely Guy's Book of Life</i> into the 'Steve Martin' vehicle "The Lonely Guy"

1984

Scripted the the Oscar-nominated "Splash"

1985

TV directing debut, "George Burns Comedy Week" (CBS)

1988

TV producing debut, "Sniff" (CBS), also scripted

1992

Acted in Woody Allens' "Husbands and Wives"

1998

Had a small roll in "You've Got Mail"

Videos

Movie Clip

Stir Crazy (1980) - Our Lucky Town Fleeing New York for Hollywood, out-of-work actor Harry (Richard Pryor) and writer Skip (Gene Wilder) improvise when their van breaks down in a Western town, early in Stir Crazy, 1980.
Stir Crazy (1980) - A Huge Misunderstanding! Jobless and headed to Hollywood, actor Harry (Richard Pryor) and writer Skip (Gene Wilder) are wrongly jailed for bank robbery in a desert town (shot in Tucson), and things go badly as they meet their public defender (Joel Brooks) and the local judge (Thomas Moore), in their hit follow-up to Silver Streak, Stir Crazy 1980.
Heartbreak Kid, The (1972) - Miami Beach, Here We Come! Joining director Elaine May’s New York Jewish wedding sequence, Charles Grodin as Lenny, the title character and Jeannie Berlin as bride Lila , who has insisted they wait for marriage before having sex, story by Bruce Jay Friedman, script by Neil Simon, early in The Heartbreak Kid, 1972.
Heartbreak Kid, The (1972) - I'm An Egg Salad Nut In a motel restaurant en route from their hurried New York wedding to their Miami Beach honeymoon, Charles Grodin as sporting goods salesman Lenny, who’s beginning to have serious doubts about his new wife Lila (Jeannie Berlin), in director Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid, 1972.
Heartbreak Kid, The (1972) - That's My Spot Lenny (Charles Grodin, title character) has given up waiting for neurotic wife Lila (Jeannie Berlin) to make it to the beach on the first day of their Miami Beach honeymoon, and he’s surprised when Kelly (Cybil Shepherd) presents herself, in director Elaine May’s , 1972.
Stir Crazy (1980) - I Hope You Had Fun! Tail end of the credits and vignettes introducing the hero buddies, Richard Pryor as Harry, who's really an actor, and Gene Wilder as Skip, a writer, opening the hit comedy Stir Crazy, 1980.tbd

Family

Irving Friedman
Father
Garment company manager. Former silent movie accompanist.
Molly Friedman
Mother
Former ticket seller on Broadway.
Dolly Friedman
Sister
Older.
Josh Friedman
Son
Mother Ginger Howard.
Drew Friedman
Son
Mother Ginger Howard.
Kip Friedman
Son
Mother Ginger Howard.

Companions

Ginger Howard
Wife
Interior decorator, actor, model. Married June 13, 1954; divorced.
Pat O'Donohue
Wife
Married July 3, 1983.

Bibliography

"A Father's Kisses"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1996)
"The Collected Stories of Bruce Jay Friedman"
Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1995)
"Tokyo Woes"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1985)
"The Lonely Guy's Book of Life"
Bruce Jay Friedman (1982)
"About Harry Townes"
Bruce Jay Friedman (1974)
"The Dick"
Bruce Jay Friedman (1970)
"Black Angels"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Simon & Schuster (1966)
"A Mother's Kisses"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Simon & Schuster (1964)
"Far from the City of Class"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Frommer-Pasmantier (1963)
"Stern"
Bruce Jay Friedman, Simon & Schuster (1962)