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Richard Brooks

Richard Brooks

D.O.B.: . May 18, 1912 (Philadelphia, PA) 

D.O.D.: March 11, 1992 (Beverly Hills, CA)

Cause of Death: Congestive heart failure

Location: Hillside Memorial; Mount of Olives

Biographical Notes: 

Writer, producer, director. Dynamic, rugged filmmaker who was not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects, and was a leader in forcing Hollywood to "grow up." He began his screenwriting career, amusingly, with a couple of Maria Montez epics, White Savage (1943) and Cobra Woman (1944), but quickly moved up to more challenging ideas in Brute Force (1947) and Key Largo (1948). With the support of Cary Grant, he made his directorial debut in 1950 with the medical thriller Crisis but his subsequent films were variable until Blackboard Jungle (1955), a landmark drama that electrified the country in its unvarnished look at juvenile delinquency. He followed it with an extraordinary string of literary and theatrical adaptations-The Catered Affair (1956), Something of Value (1957),The Brothers Karamazov, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (both 1958),Elmer Gantry (1960), which won him a screenplay Oscar, Sweet Bird of Youth (1962),Lord Jim (1965), and In Cold Blood (1967)-all of which proved that adult, issue-oriented storytelling could still succeed as mass-market entertainment. (Even his 1966The Professionals ostensibly a broad-appeal Western, tackled several serious issues in between explosions.)

Brooks' work mellowed somewhat, but he could still deliver a knockout punch, be it a large-scale adventure like Bite the Bullet (1975), or an intimate shocker like Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977). His last few films were major disappointments, including Wrong Is Right (1982) and Fe- ver Pitch (1985). He was Oscar-nominated for writing Blackboard Jungle and for writing and directing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, In Cold Blood and The Professionals.


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