MANKIEWICZ, JOSEPH LEO


MANKIEWICZ, JOSEPH LEO (1909–1993), U.S. film writer, producer, and director. Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Mankiewicz worked on scripts for Paramount, MGM, and Fox. He received Academy Awards for A Letter to Three Wives (Best Director and Best Screenplay, 1949) and All About Eve (Best Director and Best Screenplay, 1950).

His early screenwriting credits include Skippy (Oscar nomination for Best Adaptation, 1931), Million Dollar Legs (1932), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Our Daily Bread (1934), Forsaking All Others (1934), and I Live My Life (1935).

Mankiewicz produced such films as Fury (1936), The Shopworn Angel (1938), The Philadelphia Story (Best Picture Oscar, 1940), The Feminine Touch (1941), Woman of the Year (1942), and The Keys of the Kingdom (and screenplay, 1948). In 1952 he formed Figaro, Inc., and produced, wrote, and directed The Barefoot Contessa (Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, 1954) and The Quiet American (1958). Films he directed include Dragonwyck (and screenplay, 1946), Somewhere in the Night (and screenplay, 1946), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), No Way Out (Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, 1950), People Will Talk (and screenplay, 1951), 5 Fingers (Oscar nomination for Best Director, 1952), Julius Caesar (1953), Guys and Dolls (and screenplay, 1955), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), Cleopatra (and screenplay, 1963), The Honey Pot (and screenplay, 1967), There Was a Crooked Man (1970), and Sleuth (Oscar nomination for Best Director, 1972).

Mankiewicz's films are characterized by their intelligence, sophistication, and witty dialogue, and a number of them demonstrate his masterful use of the flashback.

His brother HERMAN (1897–1953) was a screenwriter and producer. His son Tom is a writer and director and his son Christopher is a producer.

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.