Delbert Mann

Delbert Mann


Delbert Mann
Film: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born Jan. 30, 1920 in Lawrence, KS
Died Nov. 11, 2007 of pneumonia in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Calif.

Delbert Mann directed the acclaimed live TV production of "Marty," Paddy Chayefsky's classic tale of a lonely Bronx butcher, and then won an Academy Award directing the 1955 movie version.

Considered one of the premier directors of the golden age of live television, Mann directed "Marty," starring Rod Steiger in the title role, for NBC in 1953. When Chayefsky turned his story into a screenplay, he insisted that Mann direct it.

"Marty," which marked Mann's debut as a movie director, is said to have been the first teleplay to be transferred to the movies.

In his review of the low-budget black-and-white film, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote: "No matter what the movie people may say or think about television, they have it to thank for 'Marty.' "

"Marty" won the Academy Award for best picture, as well as Oscars for Mann, Chayefsky and Ernest Borgnine in the title role.

Mann, who also won a best director award from the Directors Guild of America for "Marty," went on to direct 15 more feature films, including "The Bachelor Party," "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs," "Desire Under the Elms," "Separate Tables," "Middle of the Night" and the Doris Day comedies "Lover Come Back" with Rock Hudson and "That Touch of Mink" with Cary Grant.

Between 1949 and 1955, Mann directed more than 100 live television dramas. But even after turning to films, he returned to television and directed productions for "Playhouse 90," "Ford Star Jubilee" and other dramatic television anthology series.

He also directed more than two dozen films for television from the late 1960s to the early '90s, including "Heidi," "David Copperfield," "Jane Eyre," "Kidnapped" and "The Member of the Wedding."

"I missed the excitement and concentration that live TV gave us in those days," he said at the time. "I was able to achieve the artistic freedom I can't get in films."

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1955 Best Director Marty Win

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