Like so many people who entered the American entertainment industry at the turn of the century, Howard Estabrook trained himself to be a jack-of-all-trades. At various junctures he was an actor, stage director, film director, and playwright before zeroing in on a long screenwriting career. Estabrook entered films in 1914 as an action player in such fast-moving epics as Officer 666 (1914) and The Mysteries of Myra (1916). He had the strong-chinned good looks of a college sports hero and was a reasonably persuasive actor, but he soon found more satisfaction in writing scripts than in reading them. Estabrook's writing skills were well-represented for over three decades, from 1928's Port of Missing Girls to 1959's The Big Fisherman. He won an Academy award for his work on the 1931 western Cimarron; he also occasionally functioned as a producer at Paramount. In 1944, Howard Estabrook returned to directing for the medium-budget Heavenly Days (1944), which some fans consider the best film-vehicle of the popular radio team Fibber McGee and Molly.