Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks
Los Angeles Times


Richard Brooks
Film: South side of the 6400 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Director | Novelist | Screenwriter
Born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912 in Philadelphia, PA
Died March 11, 1992 of congestive heart failure in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Richard Brooks, a tough, muscular storyteller, won a screenwriting Oscar for "Elmer Gantry" and directed "The Blackboard Jungle" and "Looking for Mr. Goodbar."

A product of the studio system, Brooks built his reputation with tough, unsentimental stories that revolved around macho leading men. He also wrote three books, and one, "The Producer," is a penetrating exploration of the Hollywood in which he worked.

Brooks was a marvelous movie storyteller. "The Professionals," for example, is a classic western as engrossing to watch today as it was in 1966, and "Elmer Gantry" continues to feel as fresh as the latest news stories about troubled evangelists.

But more than that, Brooks' films were always about something: preserving the truths as well as the plots of the literary adaptations, the Tennessee Williams plays, or having a subtext of his own vision. One of his quietest, finest creations was "The Happy Ending" (1969), a prophetic look at the changing, rising consciousness of women and their determination to have an end to subservience. (The title was both true and ironic.)

His other film credits include "Key Largo," "In Cold Blood," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "The Last Hunt," "The Brothers Karamazov," "Sweet Bird of Youth," "Lord Jim," "Deadline U.S.A.," "Bite the Bullet" and "Fever Pitch."

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1955 Best Screenplay Blackboard Jungle Nomination
    1958 Best Director Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Nomination
    1958 Best Adapted Screenplay Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Nomination*
    1960 Best Adapted Screenplay Elmer Gantry Win
    1966 Best Director The Professionals Nomination
    1966 Best Adapted Screenplay The Professionals Nomination
    1967 Best Director In Cold Blood Nomination
    1967 Best Adapted Screenplay In Cold Blood Nomination
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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