Charles Brackett

Active - 1925 - 1962  |   Born - Nov 26, 1892   |   Died - Mar 10, 1969   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American writer/producer Charles Brackett followed in the tradition of his father, a New York legislator, by attending Harvard University. Completing his law studies after World War One service, Brackett turned to writing magazine articles and novels; this led to a stint as drama critic for The New Yorker. Upon the arrival of talkies in 1929, many of Brackett's literary works were optioned by Hollywood. It wasn't long before he was called to Tinseltown to write directly for the screen, though it wouldn't be until 1935 (three years after arriving in California) that he'd receive his first on-screen credit. Signed with Paramount, Brackett was obliged by the studio to write in tandem with Billy Wilder. The men argued constantly (Brackett thought that Wilder was "dirty-minded"), but what flowed from their typewriters was pure gold. When Wilder became a director, he continued to collaborate with Brackett, despite the fact that their mutual animosity had only increased with success. Brackett and Wilder shared an Oscar for Sunset Boulevard (1949) -- a project Brackett had opposed from the start; their stormy relationship ended shortly afterward. Despite their differences, Brackett and Wilder respected one another's talents, and when Brackett found himself enmeshed in a nasty legal tangle with 20th Century-Fox, it was Wilder who rallied the industry to his ex-partner's defense. Brackett won a second "best screenplay" Oscar for 1953's Titanic (1953); he was also president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1949 through 1955. After working on the 1962 remake of State Fair, Charles Brackett fell seriously ill and reluctantly went into retirement.

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