Ernest Lehman

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Ernest Lehman (born December 8, 1915 in New York City , † July 2, 2005 in Los Angeles ) was an American screenwriter . He wrote the scripts for some classic films such as The Invisible Third , West Side Story and My Songs - My Dreams . In 2001 he received the honorary Oscar for his life's work


Ernest Lehman grew up in a wealthy family on Long Island . However, the global economic crisis reduced the family fortune. Lehman graduated from the College of the City of New York and started writing as a freelance writer. Since he regarded this form of employment as unsafe, he worked as a copywriter for an advertising agency. He used the experience he gained as the basis for his novel My Destiny in Your Hand .

Lehman wrote numerous short stories and novellas for magazines such as Collier’s , Redbook and Cosmopolitan . With this he drew the attention of Hollywood and was hired as a writer by the Paramount Pictures studio in the mid-1950s . His first film The Intriguers was a success. He then wrote the script for Sabrina , which also became a cinematic success.

Lehman was one of the few who was convinced that a theatrical version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to be able to create. He convinced studio boss Jack L. Warner of this, and the finished film was critically acclaimed and nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay.

Lehman's only directorial work was the 1972 film adaptation of Portnoy's Complaint . In 1979 he ended his career as a screenwriter, with a few exceptions for television work.

Lehman was president of the Writers Guild of America from 1983 to 1985 .

On July 2, 2005, Lehman died after a prolonged illness at UCLA Medical Center .


Lehman's first marriage to Jacqueline from 1942 to 1994 until her death, they have two children. He eventually married Laurie, with whom he became a father again at the age of 86.


Lehman was nominated six times for an Oscar and finally received an honorary Oscar for his life's work in 2001 - as the first screenwriter.


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