Mortimer Offner

Mortimer Offner (3 November 1900 – September, 1965) was an American photographer, political activist and screenwriter. He created portraits of leading film stars before successfully moving to screenwriting. His career ended when he was blacklisted because he was a communist.

Mortimer Offner
Born3 November 1900
DiedSeptember 1965
New York


Offner was born in New York City on 3 November 1900.[1] His parents were of Austrian descent and they ran a dressmaking business and lived with Mortimer's aunt on East 54th street. The household also included his brother Richard Offner and his cousin the eventual dancer and artist Stella Bloch.[2] Offner had a university education before he attended the Clarence White School of Photography. After trying acting he became a photographer taking portraits on Broadway.[3] Offner and his brother are credited with helping their cousin in launching her career.[2]

Offner's career was transformed when he was encouraged to move to Hollywood by the film actress Katharine Hepburn in 1932. Whilst he was there he discovered that he had a talent for screen-writing and his photography ended in 1934.[3] Offner notably worked on Alice Adams. A script had been created by Dorothy Yost and Jane Murfin, but the director George Stevens was annoyed that the writers had changed the ending. Stevens' friend, Offner, was called in and they and Hepburn rewrote it writing and performing the lines as they wrote them. The script was only completed twelve days before then end of the shooting schedule.[4]

His films were frequently adaptations of novels. He wrote ten screenplays for films. Offner was an activist for the communist party and this resulted in him losing work. Like many including his cousin's husband Edward Eliscu Mortimer moved away from Hollywood and returned to New York.[5]

At the end of his career he had to work under a pseudonym.[3]

Offner died in New York City in September 1965.[1] He was survived by two daughters, Elizabeth "Buffy" Offner (1948 - 1978) and Deborah Offner.


  1. ^ a b Mortimer Offner, Social Security Death Index, Retrieved 23 October 2015
  2. ^ a b Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish, 1877-1947, Princeton University Library, Retrieved 23 October 2015
  3. ^ a b c Mortimer Offner,, Retrieved 23 October 2015
  4. ^ Elizabeth Kendall (1 January 2002). The Runaway Bride: Hollywood Romantic Comedy of the 1930's. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8154-1199-4.
  5. ^ Larry Ceplair; Steven Englund (January 1983). The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-1960. University of California Press. pp. 399–400. ISBN 978-0-520-04886-7.