Herb Gardner

Screenwriter, Playwright, Director
An American playwright and director whose work often focuses on contemporary urban people trying to find equilibrium in a crazy world, Herb Gardner has enjoyed more success in the theater than in motion pictures. Only ... Read more »
Born: 12/27/1934 in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (12)

I'm Not Rappaport 1996 (Movie)

("I'm Not Rappaport") (Play as Source Material)

I'm Not Rappaport 1996 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Goodbye People 1984 (Movie)

("The Goodbye People") (Play as Source Material)

The Goodbye People 1984 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Thieves 1977 (Movie)

("Thieves") (Play as Source Material)

Thieves 1977 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Love, Life, Liberty & Lunch 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Writer

Happy Endings 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Writer

A Thousand Clowns 1964 (Movie)

("A Thousand Clowns") (Play as Source Material)

A Thousand Clowns 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Director (3)

I'm Not Rappaport 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

The Goodbye People 1984 (Movie)

(Director)

Candid Camera 1974 - 1980 (Tv Show)

Director
Actor (3)

Bob Fosse: Steam Heat 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Ishtar 1987 (Movie)

Rabbi Pierce (Actor)
Producer (2)

A Thousand Clowns 1964 (Movie)

(Associate Producer)

Biography

An American playwright and director whose work often focuses on contemporary urban people trying to find equilibrium in a crazy world, Herb Gardner has enjoyed more success in the theater than in motion pictures. Only his first work, "A Thousand Clowns", about a TV writer who drops out to care for his nephew, has proven successful on both Broadway (in 1962) and film (1965). For his seamless adaptation of his original comedy, Gardner earned an Academy Award nomination. Like many who enjoy an early success, he struggled for much of the next two decades in an effort to recapture that early glory.

The Brooklyn native began his career as a commercial artist and also created and wrote a comic strip called "The Nebbishes" for eight years. Following the success of "A Thousand Clowns", Gardner wrote and directed "The Goodbye People", a notorious 1968 flop that focused on a man who wants to open a tropical drink stand on a beach boardwalk. It took nearly seven years before his next play, the uneven "Thieves" hit the boards and a troubled out-of-town tryout (the original leading lady quit) did not help word of mouth when it hit Broadway. Gardner's one attempt at a musical, as both lyricist and book writer for "One Night Stand" did not even officially open on Broadway although it played several preview performances in 1980. He finally hit his stride with "I'm Not Rappaport" (1984), a comedy centered on two oldsters that found its audience in NYC and went on to win the Tony Award as Best Play. His richer, autobiographical "Conversations With My Father" (1992) was also a Broadway success, fueled partly by Judd Hirsch's lead performance.

For the big screen, Gardner produced and wrote the cult hit "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971) in which Dustin Hoffman played a rock composer and singer who discovers that money doesn't buy answers to all of the mysteries of life. The feature film version of "Thieves" (1977) proved a disappointment with only Bob Fosse standing out in a cameo appearance. Gardner made his feature directorial debut with the screen version of "The Goodbye People" (1984) but while the material was clearly special to the author, audiences did not feel the same way. Only slightly more successful was his film version of "I'm Not Rappaport" (1996), which like all of Gardner's efforts had a sentimental core. In this case, though, the strong leading performances of Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis elevated the material.

Relationships

Barbara Gardner

Wife

Rita Gardner

Wife
married in April 1957 divorced

Marlo Thomas Actor

Companion

EDUCATION

Carnegie Institute of Technology

Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
school named changed to Carnegie-Mellon University

High School of the Performing Arts

New York , New York 1952

Antioch College

Yellow Springs , Ohio

Milestones

1996

Wrote, directed and executive produced feature adaptation of "I'm Not Rappaport"

1992

Had Broadway hit with "Conversations With My Father", starring Hirsch

1987

Made cameo appearance in "Ishtar"

1984

Premiered "I'm Not Rappaport", starring Judd Hirsch and Cleavon Little in Seattle; show moved to Broadway where it won the 1986 Tony Award as Best Play

1984

Feature directorial debut, "The Goodbye People"; also adapted screenplay from stage play

1980

Debut as musical book writer with the ill-fated "One Night Stand"; also penned lyrics

1977

Adapted "Thieves" to film; Marlo Thomas recreated her stage role

1976

Reunited with King as writer of "Word of Mouth", a segment of the ABC special "Love, Life, Liberty & Lunch"

1975

Penned the "I'm With Ya, Duke" segment (starring Alan King) of the ABC special "Happy Endings"

1974

Scripted the stage comedy "Thieves"; original star Valerie Harper left show in Boston and was replaced by Marlo Thomas

1970

Wrote and co-produced feature film "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?", starring Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Harris

1968

Wrote and directed "The Goodbye People" on Broadway; show lasted one performance

1965

Penned screenplay adaptation of "A Thousand Clowns"; also served as associate producer; received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay

1962

Wrote "A Thousand Clowns" for Broadway stage

Worked as commercial artist; wrote comic strip "The Nebbishes" for eight years

Bonus Trivia

.

"Pretty much everything I've done, I've done on a personal dare. I've never been assigned anything -- ever." --Herb Gardner quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, February 28, 2000.

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