Isobel Lennart

Screenwriter, Playwright
A screenwriter and playwright born in Brooklyn, Lennart was signed by MGM in the early 1940s, at first working on such modest films as "The Affairs of Martha" (1942) and "Lost Angel" (1943). The majority of her over two ... Read more »
Born: 05/18/1915 in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (28)

Holiday Affair 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

From Story

Funny Girl 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Funny Girl 1968 (Movie)

(From Story)

Fitzwilly 1967 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Period of Adjustment 1962 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Two For the Seesaw 1962 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Please Don't Eat the Daisies 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Sundowners 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Merry Andrew 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness 1958 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

This Could Be the Night 1957 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Meet Me in Las Vegas 1956 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Meet Me in Las Vegas 1956 (Movie)

(Story By)

Love Me or Leave Me 1955 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Latin Lovers 1953 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

It's a Big Country 1952 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Life of Her Own 1950 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Life of Her Own 1950 (Movie)

(From Story)

Holiday Affair 1949 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Kissing Bandit 1948 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Anchors Aweigh 1945 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Holiday in Mexico (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

It Happened in Brooklyn (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Lost Angel (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

My Wife's Best Friend (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Skirts Ahoy! (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Stranger in Town (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

The Affairs of Martha (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Biography

A screenwriter and playwright born in Brooklyn, Lennart was signed by MGM in the early 1940s, at first working on such modest films as "The Affairs of Martha" (1942) and "Lost Angel" (1943). The majority of her over two dozen credits during her 25-year career in films would be for MGM, and half of those were in collaboration with producer Joe Pasternak, a purveyor of agreeable if not usually innovative musicals and comedies. Lennart's first major film hit came with Pasternak's "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), the oft-told tale of two sailors on leave, distinguished more for its first teaming of Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and its musical numbers than for its serviceable screenplay. Most of Lennart's subsequent credits would be equally lighthearted, ranging from the charming "Period of Adjustment" (1962), based on Tennessee Williams material, to the derivative but harmless "Holiday Affair" (1949) to the occasional stinker ("The Kissing Bandit" 1948; "Latin Lovers" 1953).

Many of Lennart's credits were star vehicles for the likes of Danny Kaye ("Merry Andrew" 1958), Doris Day ("Please Don't Eat the Daisies" 1960) and Esther Williams ("Skirts Ahoy!" 1952). Some of her best work came with atypically dramatic fare: "East Side West Side" (1949) gave Barbara Stanwyck a good workout; "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" (1958) won plaudits for Ingrid Bergman and Robert Donat; and George Cukor's "A Life of Her Own" (1950) was a somewhat underrated showcase for Lana Turner and Ann Dvorak. Along similar lines was one of Lennart's finest efforts, the Oscar-nominated screenplay for "Love Me or Leave Me" (1955), a potently dramatic musical teaming Day with James Cagney, based on the life of 1930s torch singer Ruth Etting. Equally fine but more in keeping with Lennart's typically buoyant tone was another fine Oscar-nominated screenplay, this one an adaptation which resulted in the lovely tale of Australian sheepherders, "The Sundowners" (1960).

No case has been made by critics or academics for Lennart as a key example of the screenwriter as "auteur", but many of her screenplays do center upon women optimistically coping with careers, families and especially men who prove difficult because of possessiveness, addictions, finances, restlessness, or infidelity. For much of her career, she had focused upon screenplay writing, but Lennart the playwright enjoyed her biggest success and most enduring Broadway achievement when she took a few years off from movies to pen the musical biography of another iconic singer of the Jazz Age and the Depression. The smash "Funny Girl" (1964) told the story of Fanny Brice, clinched Barbra Streisand's stardom and was successfully adapted by Lennart for the 1968 film version. It also turned out to be her swan song, for Lennart was killed in a car crash in 1971.

Relationships

John Harding

Husband
survived her

Milestones

1968

Last screenplay credit, "Funny Girl", based on her Broadway libretto

1964

Wrote the story and libretto for the hit Broadway musical, "Funny Girl", based on the life of Fanny Brice

1960

Received second Oscar nomination for Best Adaptation Screenplay, for "The Sundowners", based on the novel by Jon Cleary

1960

Last of many collaborations with producer Joe Pasternak, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"

1955

Received first Oscar nomination for original screenplay for "Love Me or Leave Me", co-written with Daniel Fuchs, based on the life of Ruth Etting

1952

Called to testify before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities (HUAC)

1944

First worked for MGM producer Joe Pasternak, "Anchors Aweigh"

1941

Earliest screenplay credits include "The Affairs of Martha"

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