Kanin, Garson

▪ 2000

      American playwright, director, and screenwriter (b. Nov. 24, 1912, Rochester, N.Y.—d. March 13, 1999, New York, N.Y.), wrote or directed 32 plays, worked on 29 motion pictures, and wrote numerous books, short stories, and articles. He wrote and directed the Broadway comedy Born Yesterday (1946; filmed 1950) and in collaboration with his first wife, actress Ruth Gordon, created some of his era's wittiest works, including the screenplays for such classic Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn films as Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952). Kanin, a high-school dropout, held a few casual day jobs while playing saxophone and leading a band—Garson Kay and His Red Peppers—at night. Following two years of studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he was cast (1933) in a small part in the Broadway play Little Ol' Boy. After a few other Broadway roles, Kanin became (1935) an assistant to producer-director George Abbott and soon was directing touring companies of Abbott's shows. At about that same time, he met playwright Thornton Wilder, who became his mentor and later encouraged him to write. In 1937 Kanin went to Hollywood to work for Samuel Goldwyn. Among his tasks was the creation of such legendary mangled Goldwynisms as “In two words, impossible,” and he set about to learn all he could about filmmaking. Kanin moved to RKO Radio in 1938 and directed several films before being drafted in 1941 for World War II service, during which he co-directed the Academy Award–winning documentary The True Glory. He also began working on the script for Born Yesterday. This play made a star of Judy Holliday, and she won an Oscar for her performance in the film version. Later plays Kanin directed included The Diary of Anne Frank (1955), Sunday in New York (1961), and the musical Funny Girl (1964), and among his books were the reminiscences Remembering Mr. Maugham (1966), Tracy and Hepburn (1970), and Hollywood (1974).

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▪ American writer and director
born November 24, 1912, Rochester, N.Y., U.S.
died March 13, 1999, New York, N.Y.

      American writer and director of plays and films, best known for collaborations with his wife, the actress-writer Ruth Gordon (Gordon, Ruth).

      Kanin left high school to help support his family during the first years of the Great Depression. He worked as a musician and later as a comedian, and he eventually attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts during the years 1932–33. Upon completing his studies, he acted briefly on Broadway and then assisted Broadway director George Abbott, from whom he learned the basics of stage direction. These experiences sparked Kanin's interest in a directing career.

      In 1937 Kanin joined film producer Samuel Goldwyn (Goldwyn, Samuel)'s staff, but he left after a year because he received no directing assignments. He signed with RKO (RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.) studios in 1938 and was immediately assigned to direct A Man to Remember (1938). The following year, he enjoyed his first directorial success with The Great Man Votes (1939) after having personally talked actor John Barrymore (Barrymore, John) into taking the lead role. Kanin's best films at RKO include My Favorite Wife (1940), with Cary Grant (Grant, Cary), and Tom, Dick, and Harry (1941), with Ginger Rogers (Rogers, Ginger).

      Drafted during World War II, Kanin made documentary films for the War Information and Emergency Manpower offices. One of them, The True Glory (1945), codirected by Carol Reed (Reed, Sir Carol), won an Academy Award for best documentary. After the war, he directed his play Born Yesterday on Broadway; in 1950 it was made into a film by director George Cukor (Cukor, George). Kanin also cowrote several screenplays with Gordon (Gordon, Ruth), including A Double Life (1947), Adam's Rib (1949), and Pat and Mike (1952). Throughout their productive careers, Kanin and Gordon wrote scripts strictly on a freelance basis and were never under contract to any Hollywood studio.

      Kanin also wrote novels, including Blow Up a Storm (1959), A Thousand Summers (1973), and Moviola (1979); a collection of short stories entitled Cast of Characters (1969); and nonfiction such as Tracy and Hepburn: An Intimate Memoir (1971), Hollywood (1974), and Together Again! The Stories of the Great Hollywood Teams (1981). He was the sole writer for such screenplays as It Should Happen to You (1954) and The Rat Race (1960; based on his play and novel of the same name). He also wrote several scripts for television, including Hardhat and Legs (1980), which was his final collaboration with Gordon.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KANIN, GARSON — (1912–1999), U.S. playwright and director. Kanin, born in Rochester, New York, became a Hollywood director for Samuel Goldwyn at 25. He directed John Barrymore in A Great Man Votes (1939) and Ginger Rogers in both Bachelor Mother (1939) and Tom,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Garson Kanin — Infobox Actor bgcolour = silver name = Garson Kanin birthdate = birth date|1912|11|24|mf=y location = Rochester, New York, USA deathdate = death date|1999|3|13|mf=y (aged age|1912|11|24|1999|3|13) deathplace = New York City, New York spouse =… …   Wikipedia

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  • KANIN, FAY MITCHELL — (1917– ), screenwriter and leader in the U.S. film and television industries. Born in New York City to Bessie (Kaiser) and David Mitchell, Kanin grew up in Elmira, N.Y., where as a teenager she won the New York State Spelling Championship. Kanin… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Kanin — bezeichnet: die ursprüngliche Benennung der heute gebräuchlichen Verkleinerungsbildung Kaninchen die Kanin Halbinsel in Nordwest Russland (Autonomer Kreis der Nenzen) das Kap Kanin an der Kanin Halbinsel in Nordwest Russland (Autonomer Kreis der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Garson — ist der Familienname von: Greer Garson, britische Schauspielerin Mike Garson, US amerikanischer Pianist Stuart Garson, kanadischer Politiker Willie Garson, US amerikanischer Schauspieler Garson ist der Vorname von: Garson Kanin, US amerikanischer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Garson Kanin — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Garson. Spencer Tracy et Garson Kanin en 1942. Garson Kanin est un scénariste et réalisateur américain né le 24 novembre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Garson — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Patronyme Greer Garson, une actrice anglaise; Mike Garson, un pianiste américain; Stuart Garson, un avocat et homme politique canadien; Willie Garson, un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kanin — Ka|nin 〈n. 11; unz.〉 Kaninchenfell [<mnddt. <afrz. conin „Kaninchen“ <lat. cuniculus „Kaninchen“] * * * Ka|nin, das; s, e (Fachspr.): Fell von Wild u. Hauskaninchen: eine Jacke aus K. * * * I Kanịn,   Halbinsel im Nor …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Kanin — /kay nin/, n. Garson /gahr seuhn/, born 1912, U.S. playwright, actor, and director. * * * …   Universalium

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