Budd Schulberg papers, 1913-2014 Rauner Manuscript MS-978

Biography

Budd Wilson Schulberg was born Seymour Wilson Schulberg on March 27, 1914 in New York City. He was the son of Hollywood film producer B.P. Schulberg and Adeline Jaffe Schulberg a literary agent. He grew up in Hollywood where he graduated from Los Angeles High School. After a year at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts he went on to Dartmouth College from which he graduated in 1936. While at Dartmouth he was involved with the "Jack-O-Lantern" humor magazine and was a member of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. After graduation he returned to Hollywood and went to work as a reader in the Selznick Pictures story department. In 1941 Schulberg sold his first novel "What Makes Sammy Run?" to Random House. The novel was an instant critical success, but incited the wrath of the Hollywood elite, as its ruthless protagonist was an amalgamation of the powerful men Schulberg had encountered in Hollywood. Upon the publication of the book, Sam Goldwyn fired Schulberg and Louis B. Mayer remarked that he should be deported from Hollywood. During World War II, Schulberg served in the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), working with John Ford's documentary film unit. He was among the first American servicemen to enter liberated Nazi concentration camps where his unit, which had been involved in gathering visual evidence against war criminals for the Nuremberg trials, documented the atrocities they found. A sports writer with a special interest in boxing, Schulberg published "The Harder They Fall" in 1947. In 1950 he published "The Disenchanted," often described as a thinly disguised portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Identified as a communist, Schulberg appeared before the House-Un-American Activities Committee where he testified against his friends and colleagues and identified individuals as known communists. In 1954 he wrote the screenplay for "On the Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and Schulberg won for Best Screenplay. He followed this success with "A Face in the Crowd," starring Andy Griffith in 1957. Among his other works are "Sanctuary V," "Everything That Moves" and "The Enemy Within". From 1960-1965 Schulberg lived in Mexico City. Upon his return to the United States he founded the Watts Writers' Workshop in Los Angeles in response to the devastation of the Watts riots. It quickly attracted national and international media attention and in 1966 was the subject of an hour-long NBC TV documentary. Writing from the Workshop was also collected in the 1967 anthology "From the Ashes: Voices of Watts." In 1971 he co-founded the Frederick Douglas Creative Arts Center in New York City. Among his other works are "Loser and Champion: Muhammad Ali" (1971), "Four Seasons of Success" (1972) and "Swan Watch" (1975) as well as a collection of short stories entitled "Sparring with Hemingway: and Other Legends of the Fight Game" (1995), his autobiography "Moving Pictures: The Story of a Hollywood Prince" (2003) and "Some Faces in the Crowd" (2007). Budd Schulberg died on August 5, 2009.

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