Philip G Epstein
Screenwriter Philip G. Epstein's life was cut short at the age of 42 by cancer, but his cinematic legacy was assured because of one film--"Casablanca." The screenplay for the movie, written with his twin brother, Julius, along with Howard Koch and an uncredited Casey Robinson, has long been heralded as one of the finest Hollywood scripts ever. However, who did what on it has always been a contentious affair. Koch and Robinson have always downplayed the involvement of the Epsteins, claiming that the brothers wrote only the comedy and police bits, while they handled, respectively, the political and romance angles. The Epsteins always maintained their authorship. No matter the real story, the brothers were deservedly honored (along with Koch) with Oscars for their work. Before and after "Casablanca," the New York City-raised Epsteins were experts at turning plays into movies, and they were also successful script doctors. Together, they wrote a number of hit films, including the tearjerkers "Four Wives" and "Mr. Skeffington" and the comedies "The Strawberry Blonde," "No Time for Comedy," "The Man Who Came to Dinner," and "Arsenic and Old Lace." In the late 1940s Jack Warner (head of Warner Bros.) gave their names to the HUAC Committee as possible Communists, much to the shock of the Epsteins' friends, who knew they were anything but. After Philip died shortly after, his brother continued to have a long screenwriting career.