FULLER, SAMUEL MICHAEL (1912–1997), U.S. film writerdirector. Born in Worcester, Mass., to a Polish Jewish mother and Russian Jewish father, Fuller said that his father dropped the Rabinovitch family name and took Fuller from the Mayflower passenger registry. Samuel Fuller started out as a journalist, beginning his career at the age of 12 as a copyboy at the New York Evening Journal; by 17, he was the newspaper's crime reporter. He would go on to write for the New York Evening Graphic and the San Diego Sun, among other newspapers. From 1942 to 1945 he served in the U.S. Army's First Infantry Division in Europe and North Africa, earning the Silver Star and Bronze Star. Fuller toiled in Hollywood for 11 years before he directed his first film, the western I Shot Jesse James (1949). He drew upon his war experiences for the insightful films The Steel Helmet (1951) and Fixed Bayonets (1951), both of which were set in and released during the Korean War. He next wrote and directed Park Row (1952) and co-wrote Scandal Sheet (1952), based on his acclaimed 1944 novel The Dark Page. His 1963 film Shock Corridor features a journalist seeking a Pulitzer for solving a murder in an insane asylum. He followed this with the crime drama The Naked Kiss (1964). In the late 1970s, with financing from Lorimar Productions and United Artists, Fuller was able to direct the film he had wanted to make about his own experiences in World War II, The Big Red One (1980), which was partially shot in Israel. The film fell flat at the box office, and Fuller went to Europe to find backing for projects in the 1980s and 1990s.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.