(February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: The Young Lions
(1948), about the fate of three soldiers during World War II
, which was made into a film of the same name
starring Marlon Brando
and Montgomery Clift
, and Rich Man, Poor Man
(1970), about the fate of two brothers and a sister in the post-World War II decades
which in 1976 was made into a popular miniseries
starring Peter Strauss
, Nick Nolte
, and Susan Blakely
Shaw was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff
in the South Bronx
, New York City, to Jewishimmigrants
His parents were Rose and Will. His younger brother, David Shaw, became a noted Hollywood producer and writer.
Shortly after Irwin's birth, the Shamforoffs moved to Brooklyn
. Irwin changed his surname upon entering college. He spent most of his youth in Brooklyn, where he graduated from Brooklyn College
with a Bachelor of Arts
degree in 1934.
He began screenwriting in 1935 at age 21. In 1939 he married actress and producer Marian Edwards, daughter of silent film actor Snitz Edwards
The couple divorced in 1967, remarrying two years before Irwin's death in 1982.
During World War II, he was approached by William Wyler
to join his film unit. Unable to be commissioned as an officer due to his age and 1-A draft status,
Shaw decided to enter the Regular Army. Later, the Army, noting his background, sent him to George Stevens
' film unit.
He was one of four writers attached to Stevens' command, in which he became a warrant officer
. After the war, he returned to his career as a writer.
In the 1930s, Shaw wrote scripts for several radio shows
, including Dick Tracy
, The Gumps
and Studio One
. He recaptured this period of his life in his short story "Main Currents of American Thought," about a hack radio writer grinding out one script after another while calculating the number of words equal to the rent money:
Furniture, and a hundred and thirty-seven dollars. His mother had always wanted a good dining-room table. She didn't have a maid, she said, so he ought to get her a dining room table. How many words for a dining-room table?
During the 1940s, Shaw wrote for a number of films, including The Talk of the Town
(a comedy about civil liberties), The Commandos Strike at Dawn
(based on a C.S. Forester
story about commandos in occupied Norway) and Easy Living
(about a football player unable to enter the game due to a medical condition). Shaw married Marian Edwards (daughter of well-known screen actor Snitz Edwards
). They had one son, Adam Shaw, born in 1950, himself a writer of magazine articles and non-fiction.
Shaw summered at the Pine Brook Country Club
, located in the countryside of Nichols, Connecticut
, which became the 1936 summer home of the Group Theatre (New York)
, whose roster included Elia Kazan
, Harold Clurman
, Harry Morgan
, John Garfield
, Frances Farmer
, Will Geer
, Clifford Odets
and Lee J. Cobb
Novels and Miniseries
The Young Lions
, Shaw's first novel, was published in 1948
. Based on his experiences in Europe during the war, the novel was very successful and was adapted into a 1958 film
. Shaw was not happy with the film, feeling it soft-pedaled some of the serious issues from his book, but it did well at the box office.
Rich Man, Poor Man
was adapted into a highly successful ABC television miniseries
with six 2-hour episodes shown for February 1 to March 15, 1976. The series ranked third in the seasonal Nielsens and garnered twenty-three Emmy nominations. A further adaptation, which Shaw had very little to do with, Rich Man, Poor Man--Book II
was aired from September 21, 1976, to March 8, 1977. This was not as successful as the first.
There was a third sequel Beggar Man, Thief
in 1978, which belated included the Jordache's sister Gretchen who had been a prominent character in the original book.
His last two novels were Bread Upon the Waters (1981) and Acceptable Losses (1982).
Shaw was highly regarded as a short story author, contributing to Collier's
, The New Yorker
, The Saturday Evening Post
, and other magazines; and 63 of his best stories were collected in Short Stories: Five Decades
(Delacorte, 1978), reprinted in 2000 as a 784-page University of Chicago Press paperback. Among his noted short stories are: "Sailor Off The Bremen", "The Eighty-Yard Run", and "Tip On A Dead Jockey". Three of his stories ("The Girls in Their Summer Dresses", "The Monument", "The Man Who Married a French Wife") were dramatized for the PBS
series Great Performances
. Telecast on June 1, 1981. This production was released on DVD in 2002 by Kultur Video.
In 1950, Shaw wrote a book on Israel with photos by Robert Capa
named Report on Israel.
- The Young Lions (1948)
- The Troubled Air (1951)
- Lucy Crown (1956)
- Two Weeks in Another Town (1960)
- Voices of a Summer Day (1965)
- Rich Man, Poor Man (1969/1970) (Portions of this novel first appeared in Playboy in a slightly different form.)
- Evening in Byzantium (1973)
- Night Work (1975)
- Beggarman, Thief (1977)
- The Top of the Hill (1979)
- Bread Upon the Waters (1981)
- Acceptable Losses (1982)
- Sailor off the Bremen and other Stories (1939)
- Welcome to the City, and other Stories (1942)
- Act of Faith, and other stories (1946)
- The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
- Mixed Company. Collected Short Stories (1950)
- Tip on a Dead Jockey, and other stories (1957)
- Selected Short Stories (1961)
- Love on a Dark Street, and other stories (1965)
- Retreat and other stories (1970)
- God Was Here, But He Left Early (1973)
- Short Stories: Five Decades (1978)
- Report on Israel (1950, with Robert Capa)
- In the Company of Dolphins (1964)
- Paris! Paris! (1976)
- Bury the Dead, New York, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, April 1936.
- Siege, New York, Longacre Theatre, December 1937.
- The Gentle People, New York, Belasco Theatre, January 1939.
- Quiet City New York, Belasco Theatre, March 1939.
- Retreat to Pleasure, New York, Belasco Theatre, 1940.
- Sons and Soldiers, New York, Morosco Theatre, May 1943.
- The Assassin, New York, National Theatre, October 1945.
- The Survivors, (with Peter Viertel) New York, Playhouse Theatre, January 1948.
- Children From Their Games, New York, Morosco Theatre, April 1963.
- A Choice of Wars, Glasgow, Scotland, Glasgow Citizens Theatre, 1967.
- The Big Game, RKO, 1936.
- Commandos Strike at Dawn, Columbia, 1942.
- The Hard Way, Warner Bros., 1942.
- The Talk of the Town, RKO, 1942.
- Take One False Step, Universal, 1949.
- Easy Living, RKO, 1949.
- I Want You, RKO, 1951.
- Act of Love, United Artists, 1953.
- Ulysses, Paramount, 1954.
- Fire Down Below, Columbia, 1957.
- Desire Under the Elms, Paramount, 1958.
- This Angry Age, Columbia, 1958.
- The Big Gamble, Fox, 1961.
- In the French Style, Columbia, 1963.
- Survival, United Film, 1968.
- ^ a b Rich Man, Poor Man, Nostagia Central. "A further sequel, Beggar Man, Thief (1978) introduced the Jordache’s previously unmentioned sister, Gretchen."
- ^ "Transport Group to Present Revival of Shaw's 'Bury the Dead' Starting 10/31". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- ^ "Golden Era Scribe David Shaw Dies". Emmys. August 20, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- ^ "Marian Shaw, Theatrical Producer, 80". NYTimes.com. December 31, 1996.
- ^ Miller, Gabriel William Wyler: The Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director University Press of Kentucky, 19 Jul. 2013
- ^ Harris, Mark Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War Canongate Books, 20 Feb. 2014
- ^ "The Papers of Irwin Shaw". BROOKLYN COLLEGE ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS. Archived from the original on 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- ^ "Pinewood Lake website retrieved on 2010-09-10". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
- ^ Images of America, Trumbull Historical Society, 1997, p. 123
- ^ EVENING IN BYZANTIUM Kirkus Review.
- ^ RICH MAN, POOR MAN: U.S. Miniseries, Museum of Broadcast Communications.
- ^ Total Television: A Comprehensive Guide to Programming from 1948 to the Present, Alex McNeil, Penguin Books, 1984.
- ^ Rudolph, Tom and Gretchen, New York Times, W. G. Rogers, Oct. 4, 1970.
- ^ "Top of the Hill". www.imdb.com.
Last edited on 15 May 2021, at 11:32
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