Walter Bernstein

Active - 1948 - 2008  |   Born - Aug 20, 1919   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Thriller, Film, TV & Radio

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Dartmouth graduate Walter Bernstein developed his writing skills while on the staff of Yank magazine during World War II. Upon being mustered out of service, Bernstein accumulated a single screenwriting credit, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948), before plunging into the virgin territory of live television. His writing career came to a screeching halt when he was blacklisted after testifying before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1951. The ban was lifted when director Sidney Lumet hired Bernstein for the 1959 Sophia Loren picture That Kind of Woman. Of his subsequent credits, Bernstein's Fail Safe (1964), The Molly Maguires (1977) and Semi-Tough (1977) are particular highlights. He has also penned two understandably vitriolic screenplays on the Blacklist years, 1976's The Front (which earned him an Oscar nomination) and 1989's House on Carroll Street. Walter Bernstein made an unexpected-and uncharacteristically sentimental-directorial bow with his 1981 remake of Damon Runyon's Little Miss Marker.

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