Ben Hecht

Screenwriter, Playwright, Director
One of the premiere writers of the 20th century, Ben Hecht quickly established himself as a hardboiled, eminently readable Chicago newspaper reporter and columnist. He went on to pen several successful Broadway plays ... Read more »
Born: 02/28/1894 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (40)

Kiss of Death 1995 (Movie)

from screenplay("Kiss of Death" (USA/1947)) (From Story)

Notorious 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

From Story

I Hate Actors 1988 (Movie)

("I Hate Actors") (Source Material (from novel))

Switching Channels 1988 (Movie)

("The Front Page") (Play as Source Material)

The Front Page 1974 (Movie)

("The Front Page") (Play as Source Material)

The Front Page 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Play as Source Material

Gaily, Gaily 1969 (Movie)

("Gaily Gaily") (Source Material (from novel))

Circus World 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Billy Rose's Jumbo 1961 (Movie)

(From Story)

Queen of Outer Space 1958 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Fiend Who Walked the West 1958 (Movie)

from screenplay("Kiss of Death") (From Story)

A Farewell to Arms 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Legend of the Lost 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1957 (Movie)

English adaptation (Writer (adaptation))

Miracle in the Rain 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Miracle in the Rain 1956 (Movie)

(Source Material (from novel))

The Indian Fighter 1955 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Ulysses 1955 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Monkey Business 1952 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Edge of Doom 1950 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Notorious 1946 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Spellbound 1945 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Black Swan 1941 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

His Girl Friday 1940 (Movie)

("The Front Page") (Play as Source Material)

Comrade X 1939 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Wuthering Heights 1939 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Gunga Din 1938 (Movie)

adaptation (Writer (adaptation))

Some Like It Hot 1938 (Movie)

(Play as Source Material)

The Goldwyn Follies 1937 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Goldwyn Follies 1937 (Movie)

(From Story)

Nothing Sacred 1936 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Barbary Coast 1935 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Barbary Coast 1935 (Movie)

(From Story)

The Scoundrel 1934 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Scoundrel 1934 (Movie)

(From Story)

Twentieth Century 1934 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Twentieth Century 1934 (Movie)

("Twentieth Century") (Play as Source Material)

Scarface 1932 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Front Page 1931 (Movie)

("The Front Page") (Play as Source Material)

Underworld 1926 (Movie)

(From Story)
Director (1)

The Scoundrel 1934 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (1)

The Scoundrel 1934 (Movie)

(Producer)
Music (1)

Living It Up 1954 (Movie)

from musical("Hazel Flagg") (Music)

Biography

One of the premiere writers of the 20th century, Ben Hecht quickly established himself as a hardboiled, eminently readable Chicago newspaper reporter and columnist. He went on to pen several successful Broadway plays, including "The Front Page," one of the most widely staged productions of its era, and a number of acclaimed books, including both fiction, non-fiction and anthologies. Hollywood took notice and Hecht was soon putting his skills to work for the silver screen. Within a year, he had won an Academy Award for "Underworld" (1927) and a litany of his credits from that point onward was staggering. Some of the finest movies produced from the 1930s through the early 1960s Hecht either wrote the screenplay or was brought in for an uncredited polish. Some of his greatest works included Scarface" (1932), "Nothing Sacred" (1937), "A Star is Born" (1937), "Stagecoach" (1939), "Gone With the Wind" (1939), "Foreign Correspondent" (1940), "Tales of Manhattan" (1942), "The Black Swan" (1942), "Spellbound" (1945), "Notorious" (1946), "Kiss of Death" (1947), "Strangers on a Train" (1951) and "Guys and Dolls" (1955). His ability to turn out high-quality work in a short period of time - sometimes as little as two weeks - on such a wide variety of genres kept Hecht in near constant demand, and while he considered movies to be a lesser art form, Hecht's creativity and talent for intelligent plotting and crackling dialogue was indisputable.

Relationships

Parent
Jewish immigrants from South Russia

Wife
married in 1915 divorced in 1925

Rose Hecht

Wife
married in 1925

Jenny Hecht

Daughter
born c. 1943

EDUCATION

Racine High School

Racine , Wisconsin

Milestones

1968

Portion of his memoir, "A Child of the Century" served as basis for Norman Jewison film "Gaily, Gaily" starring Beau Bridges as Hecht

1964

Died while working uncredited on screenplay for "Casino Royale" (1967)

1954

Published autobiography "A Child of the Century"

1934

Formed production company in NYC with Charles MacArthur; made first film as director, "Crime Without Passion"

1925

Moved to NYC before heading to Hollywood at the invitation of writer Herman Mankiewicz who offered a contract at Paramount

1923

Founded and edited the Chicago Literary Times

1919

Became a war correspondent in Germany and Russia for 75 newspapers

1909

Ran away to Chicago at age 16 where he began career as a cub reporter; wrote for the Chicago Journal and the Chicago Daily News

Worked as crime reporter

Raised in Racine, Wisconsin; performed as a child prodigy violinist at age 10; became a circus acrobat at age 12

Bonus Trivia

.

Lured to Hollywood by friend Herman Mankiewicz who sent this telegram to Hecht in 1926: "Will you accept 300 per week to work for Paramount Pictures? All expenses paid. 300 is peanuts. Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don't let this get around."

SIMILAR ARTICLES