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Howard J. Green (March 20, 1893 – September 2, 1965) was an American screenwriter who worked in film and television. He was the first president of the Screen Writers Guild and a founder of the subsequent Writers Guild of America, West.[1]

Howard J. Green
Howard J Green headshot.png
Born
Howard Jefferson Green

(1893-03-20)March 20, 1893
DiedSeptember 2, 1965(1965-09-02) (aged 72)
OccupationScreenwriter
Years active1927–1959

CareerEdit

Green attended Hastings Law College in San Francisco during which he wrote multiple musical comedies.[2] Once his scripts began getting local production, he gave up law to pursue newspaper reporting and began as a news reporter in San Francisco and St. Louis before settling in New York and joining the New York Clipper.[2][3] After serving in World War I, he returned to New York and became managing editor of Theatre World.[2]

Green's experience at Theatre World led him to begin writing scripts again and he wrote vaudeville shows as well as sketches for the Garrick Gaieties[4] and Greenwich Village Follies.[2] He would then form the Hocky-Green vaudeville production firm with fellow writer Milton Hocky.[5][6]

The silent film actor Johnny Hines eventually suggested that Green try his hand at screenwriting[2] and in 1926 he moved to Los Angeles to join Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a "gag man" writer.[6] Green made his motion picture debut as a "comedy constructor" for The Brown Derby and his first screen credit was for The Kid Brother in 1927.[2]

In 1932, Green penned I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, based upon the autobiography of a chain gang escapee,[7] which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture but also had a significant impact on film-goers in the United States.[7][8] The film fueled protests against the chain gang system which ultimately led to reforms of the system and the elimination of chain gangs in Georgia in 1937.[8][9]

In 1933, at a time when writers were looking to organize against the studios, Green suggested reviving the Screen Writers Guild, which began as a social club in 1921, as a union.[10] Green then became the union's first president.[1][3]

Green would write over 60 films throughout his career and in 1951 he turned to television, beginning with an episode of The Adventures of Kit Carson. He would then write episodes for over 20 television shows, including multiple episodes for Gruen Guild Theater, Chevron Theatre, Public Defender and the Pepsi-Cola Playhouse.

Personal lifeEdit

On April 25, 1923, Green married Irma Heinemann at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.[5] The couple had two children; Howard Jr. and Eleanor.[11]

Selected filmographyEdit

As screenwriter

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Howard J. Green papers". oac.cdlib.org. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Motion Picture News; Motion Picture News, Inc (1927). Motion Picture News Booking Guide and Studio Directory (Oct 1927). Media History Digital Library. New York, Motion Picture News, Inc. p. 125.
  3. ^ a b Green, Howard J.; Holmes, Brown; Gibney, Sheridan (1981). I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. Univ of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 9780299087548.
  4. ^ "The Garrick Gaieties 1925- Lyrics by Lorenz Hart". www.lorenzhart.org. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Variety (April 26, 1923). Variety (April 1923). Media History Digital Library. New York, NY: Variety Publishing Company. p. 10.
  6. ^ a b Variety (March 10, 1926). Variety (March 1926). Media History Digital Library. New York, NY: Variety Publishing Company. p. 4.
  7. ^ a b Lindsey (August 11, 2013). "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1932)". The Motion Pictures. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Hilliard, Robert L. (April 15, 2009). Hollywood Speaks Out: Pictures that Dared to Protest Real World Issues. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 68–70. ISBN 9781444308518.
  9. ^ "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Wilkerson, W. R. (September 4, 2018). Hollywood Godfather: The Life and Crimes of Billy Wilkerson. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 9781613736630.
  11. ^ "Howard Jefferson Green Jr. Obituary". Legacy.com. Los Angeles Times. February 7, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2018.

External linksEdit