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Stanley E. Kramer

(1913 - 2001)

KRAMER, STANLEY E. (1913–2001), U.S. film producer and director. Born in Manhattan, New York, Kramer graduated from New York University and set off for Hollywood at the age of 19. He became known for his handling of sensitive and controversial subjects. He worked in Hollywood from 1933 as a writer and film editor, but in 1949 won wide attention as a producer with Home of the Brave, a pioneering film on racial prejudice in the army. He handled racial themes again in The Defiant Ones (1958), which dealt with two escaped convicts, one white and one black, chained together (Oscar nomination for Best Picture); and in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Oscar nomination for Best Picture, 1967), a story about interracial marriage.

Kramer's On the Beach (1959), about survival in the atomic age, provoked controversy in U.S. government circles, where it was felt that the movie alarmed the public unduly. In 1961, Kramer produced and directed Judgement at Nuremberg, dealing with the trial of German judges for war crimes (Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Best Director). His other major pictures include Champion (1949), The Men (1950), Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Death of a Salesman (1951), The Caine Mutiny (Oscar nomination for Best Picture, 1954), The Wild One (1954), Not as a Stranger (1955), Inherit the Wind (1960), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and Ship of Fools (Oscar nomination for Best Picture, 1965).

In 1962 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Kramer with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is presented to a creative producer who has been responsible for a consistently high quality of motion picture production.

After a string of less successful films, such as The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969) and Bless the Beast and the Children (1971), Kramer retired in 1980 and moved to Seattle, where he taught and wrote a newspaper column.

Kramer wrote Dining InSeattle (with E. Lotzkar and R. Abbott, 1980), and his autobiographical A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: A Life in Hollywood (with T. Coffey, 1997).

Stanley Kramer died in Seattle on February 19, 2001 due to complications from a battle with pneumonia, at age 87.


R. Newquist, A Special Kind of Magic (1967), 19–55. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: D. Spoto, Stanley Kramer: Film Maker (1978).

[Paul Freireich /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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