Clifford Odets
Playwright, screenwriter, director, actor
Clifford Odets
Clifford Odets was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director.
Biography
Clifford Odets's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Clifford Odets from around the web
American Century Theater Presents Clifford Odets' THE COUNTRY GIRL 9/9 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
No American playwright wrote better dialogue than Clifford Odets, and this crackling, complex drama about a troubled marriage complicated by the rollercoaster stresses of show business is one of his finest efforts, as well as one of the great American
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Top 10 Hollywood Films of the 1950s - TheCelebrityCafe.com
Google News - over 5 years
I'll just let some of Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets' script do the talking. JJ Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster): “I wouldn't like to take a bite of you - you're a cookie full of arsenic.” Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis): “Look, JJ, we can wrap this up in one
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Andrew Garfield, Philip Seymour Hoffman, et al. Set for Broadway Revival of ... - TheaterMania.com
Google News - over 5 years
His most recent Broadway credit was directing the revival of Clifford Odets' The Country Girl. Nichols' other film credits include The Graduate, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Carnal Knowledge, and The Birdcage
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Robert Ryan's Worlds of Hurt - Village Voice
Google News - over 5 years
After an abortive run at Paramount, Ryan was signed by RKO on the strength of his performance as hardworking straight-arrow Joe Doyle in the 1941 stage production of Clifford Odets's Clash by Night. The actor didn't immediately find his niche,
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If It Only Even Runs A Minute - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The book describes how, Clifford Odets, a registered member of the Communist Party, followed the success of the pro-Marxist Awake and Sing! with a little-known piece, Til The Day I Die. Set in 1935 Berlin, the play featured Elia Kazan as a sympathetic
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KIM MORGAN: Francis (1982): Hollywood's perfect betrayal - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Exasperated with Hollywood, Farmer ventures to New York and finds a home in the Group Theater, where she displayed great gifts, but (to her downfall) has a torrid affair with the married playwright Clifford Odets. After he harshly ditches her,
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Audition list for July 29 and beyond - JohnJohnSaidIt.com
Google News - over 5 years
Clifford Odets' “Waiting for Lefty.” Seeking Equity and non-Equity actors for 13 roles. 1-3 pm Sunday, July 31; 7-9 pm Monday, Aug. 1; and 5-7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 3. Director: Ian Hinz. Performances (new location): Oct. 7-30 at the Ensemble Theatre at
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Glee's Lea Michele Not Starring In Funny Girl: So Who Is? - E! Online
Google News - over 5 years
She also worked with the revival's director, Bartlett Sher, when she made her Broadway debut five years ago in his revival of Clifford Odets' 1935 hit drama, Awake and Sing! Streisand was only 21 years old when she starred in Funny Girl
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CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; Old Stories, Spun Anew
NYTimes - over 5 years
LONDON -- If a cloud of sawdust seems to hang over the Old Vic Theater these days, that's because Kevin Spacey is chewing his way through the scenery there like an atomic termite. In a ripping old-fashioned star turn as Shakespeare's Richard III, Mr. Spacey gives fierce and flashy physical life to every twist of a power-mad man's corkscrew mind.
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A Dizzying Sense of Reality on London's Stages - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
This play (first staged at the Royal Court 53 years ago) is a sort of British equivalent of Clifford Odets's “Awake and Sing!,” a portrait of a struggling urban family of militant political convictions. Mr. Wesker, though, makes Odets look like a
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'Awake' and sing this play's praises - The Journal News | LoHud.com
Google News - over 5 years
We've carried a vaguely negative opinion of playwright Clifford Odets for 30 years, ever since Lillian Hellman eviscerated him in her book "Scoundrel Time." Hellman portrayed Odets as one of the leading scoundrels of the 1950s red-baiting era: Odets,
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Critic's Notebook: London stage revivals this summer: Breathing new life into ... - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Influenced as much by Clifford Odets as by George Bernard Shaw, Wesker's play, the first part of a trilogy, has the outward appearance of a kitchen sink drama but the inward structure of a dialectical debate. Cooke doesn't bury the scenes in realism
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Wilmington on DVD: Kiss Me Deadly, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, Sucker Punch - Isthmus Daily Page
Google News - over 5 years
His other 1954-1956 movies, the pre-Leone Westerns Apache and Vera Cruz, the scalding Clifford Odets Hollywood expose The Big Knife, the blistering war movie Attack! and the Joan Crawford soap-opera-noir Autumn Leaves, all helped his case too: smart,
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ReGroup Presents PARADISE LOST July 18 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
The ReGroup Theatre Company is pleased to announce that they are being joined for one night by Angelica Page for their reading of Paradise Lost by Clifford Odets. Over the past year, the ReGroup has been presenting highly acclaimed readings of the
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The ReGroup Theatre Hosts Book Launch Party At Drama Book Shop July 7 - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
He was a role model for Clifford Odets, and his writing style is clearly evident when reading the great works of Odets. The first of Lawson's Group play was Success Story in 1932. It is a tale of an up-and-coming advertising associate Solomon Ginsberg,
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Critics' Picks Video: 'Sweet Smell of Success' - New York Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
By MEKADO MURPHY AO Scott looks back at an earlier era in the media business with the 1957 drama “Sweet Smell of Success,” directed by Alexander Mackendrick with a screenplay by Clifford Odets. Mr. Scott calls the film “a cookie full of arsenic;
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Meet the West End's Shrek - he's big, green and Jewish - Jewish Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
... Miller's psychological Holocaust play, Breaking Glass, the misogynist pimp in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, the boxing trainer in Roy Williams's Sucker Punch, Shrek and Moe Axelrod, the streetwise war veteran in Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Clifford Odets
    FIFTIES
  • 1963
    Age 56
    On August 14, 1963, Odets died of stomach cancer at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital at the age of 57.
    More Details Hide Details Odets's ashes were interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale in Glendale, California. Odets has been looked on by many as an icon of the American theatre. According to Arthur Miller, "An Odets play was awaited like news hot off the press, as though through him we would know what to think of ourselves and our prospects." According to Marian Seldes, "Paddy Chayefsky, who felt competitive with Odets,... told an interviewer, 'There isn't a writer of my generation, especially a New York writer, who doesn't owe his very breath–his entire attitude toward theatre–to Odets.'" Golden Boy was made into a 1939 film and became the basis for a 1964 musical of the same name. The Flowering Peach became the basis for the 1970 Broadway musical Two by Two, which starred Danny Kaye. Odets's screenplay for Sweet Smell of Success became the basis for the 2002 musical of the same name.
    On July 23, 1963, Odets was admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles to undergo treatment for stomach ulcers.
    More Details Hide Details During surgery, doctors discovered that he had metastatic stomach cancer. He received bedside visits from such movie and theater friends as Marlon Brando, Lee Strasberg and Paula Strasberg, Jean Renoir and his wife, Dido, Elia Kazan, Harold Clurman, Shirley MacLaine, and Danny Kaye, among many others. Renoir dedicated a chapter of his autobiography to his friendship with Odets.
    Odets was reportedly tormented by public reaction to his testimony until his death in 1963.
    More Details Hide Details In his autobiography, Kazan recalls incidents of Odets being accosted in the street and snubbed in Hollywood restaurants after his HUAC appearance. Odets's productivity markedly improved after his 1952 testimony: he had written nothing for the screen in the six years prior to 1952, but in the decade after 1952, over 20 of his scripts reached either the large or small screen. In the early 1960s, Odets contracted to write four of a proposed total of thirteen teleplays for NBC's new dramatic anthology, The Richard Boone Show, and to act as script supervisor. Two of Odets's finished scripts were aired posthumously: "Big Mitch" (December 10, 1963), and "The Mafia Man" (January 7, 1964). Odets also worked on the libretto for a projected musical version of Golden Boy. He died before the project came to fruition. Playwright William Gibson, a former student of Odets, completed the play's book.
  • 1957
    Age 50
    Odets wrote the 1957 screenplay for Sweet Smell of Success, based on the novelette by Ernest Lehman and produced by the independent company Hecht-Hill-Lancaster.
    More Details Hide Details Starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, this film noir depicts the underbelly of the newspaper world. The character of J.J. Hunsecker, played by Lancaster, was voted the 35th most despicable villain in 100 years of film by the American Film Institute. Odets directed one other film, for which he also wrote the screenplay, The Story on Page One (1959). Odets' dramatic style is distinguished by a kind of poetic, metaphor-laden street talk. Arthur Miller observed that, with Odets' first plays, "For the very first time in America, language itself... marked a playwright as unique." Odets' use of ethnic and urban speech patterns reflects the influence of another socialist playwright with proletarian concerns, Seán O'Casey. Other hallmarks of Odets' style are his humanistic point of view, and his way of dropping the audience right into the conflict with little or no introduction. Often character is more important than plot, reflecting the influence of Anton Chekhov.
  • FORTIES
  • 1954
    Age 47
    Odets' last play, The Flowering Peach, was produced on Broadway in 1954.
    More Details Hide Details The Flowering Peach was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955, but under pressure from Joseph Pulitzer Jr., the prize went instead to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which the jury considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees. Four of Odets' plays – Golden Boy, Clash by Night, The Big Knife and The Country Girl – have been made into films, though Odets did not write the screenplays. The success of Odets's early plays attracted the attention of Hollywood producers. He first went to Hollywood in early 1936 to write for the screen as well as the stage. From this point on he would spend most of his life in Hollywood. His initial intention was to make money to help subsidize the Group Theatre's run of his late-1935 play Paradise Lost and to help him fulfill his own financial obligations. His first screenplay was produced by Paramount and directed by Lewis Milestone. Starring Gary Cooper and Madeleine Carroll, The General Died at Dawn (1936) received some positive reviews, though Frank Nugent of the New York Times reiterated Kaufman's barb in his article's title.
  • 1951
    Age 44
    Odets and Grayson divorced in 1951.
    More Details Hide Details Nora Odets died at Long Beach, Long Island in 2008; Walt Odets became a clinical psychologist, author and photographer residing in Berkeley, California. Clifford Odets also had relationships with actresses Frances Farmer, Kim Stanley and Fay Wray, among others.
  • 1950
    Age 43
    Odets' 1950 play, The Country Girl, was a critical and box office success.
    More Details Hide Details It was adapted for a film starring Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. Both actors earned Academy Award nominations for their performances. Kelly went on to win the Oscar as Best Actress for her work in the film, and screenwriter George Seaton received an Oscar for his adaptation.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1943
    Age 36
    He married for a second time, in 1943.
    More Details Hide Details Odets and actress Bette Grayson had two children, Nora, born in 1945, and Walt, born in 1947.
  • 1938
    Age 31
    The playwright George S. Kaufman queried, "Odets, where is thy sting?" Nonetheless, Rocket to the Moon garnered enough attention to place Odets on the cover of Time magazine in December 1938.
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    In 1938 the Group presented Odets' Rocket to the Moon, a more reflective piece.
    More Details Hide Details Leftist critics rebuked Odets for abandoning his formerly overt political stance.
  • 1937
    Age 30
    Odets first married two-time Academy Award winning actress Luise Rainer in January 1937. They divorced in May 1940.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1935
    Age 28
    Awake and Sing!, finally produced by the Group Theatre in February 1935, is generally regarded as Odets' masterpiece.
    More Details Hide Details It has been cited as "the earliest quintessential Jewish play outside the Yiddish theatre." The play concerns the Berger family, living in the Bronx under the shadow of economic collapse. Odets's choice of opening the play in media res, his dialogue style, and the fact that it was the first play on Broadway to focus entirely on a Jewish family, distinguish Awake and Sing! from other full-length plays of its time. The 1935 one-acts Waiting for Lefty and Till the Day I Die, along with a number of other plays produced by the Group Theatre, are harsh criticisms of profiteers and exploitative economic systems during the Great Depression. These two early plays by Odets have been dismissed by some critics as left-wing propaganda. More commonly, however, Waiting for Lefty is considered iconic in the agitprop genre, and the piece is widely anthologized. Odets asserted that all of his plays deal with the human spirit persevering in the face of any opponent, whether or not the characters are depicted as struggling with the capitalist system. The highly successful Golden Boy (1937) portrays a young man torn between artistic and material fulfillment. Ironically, it was the Group Theatre's biggest commercial success. From Golden Boy on, Odets' work focused more on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships as affected by the moral dilemmas of individual characters.
    Odets' first play to be produced was the one-act Waiting for Lefty, on January 5, 1935, at the former Civic Repertory Theatre on Fourteenth Street in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details The piece is a series of interconnected scenes depicting workers for a fictional taxi company, but inspired by an actual taxi strike. The focus alternates between the drivers' union meeting and vignettes from the workers' difficult and oppressed lives. Not all are taxi drivers. A young medical intern falls victim to anti-Semitism; a laboratory assistant's job is threatened if he doesn't comply with orders to spy on a colleague; couples are thwarted in marriage and torn apart by the hopelessness of economic conditions caused by the Depression. The climax is a defiant call for the union to strike, which brought the entire opening night audience to its feet. The play can be performed in any acting space, including union meeting halls and on the street. Waiting for Leftys unexpectedly wild success brought Odets international fame.
  • 1932
    Age 25
    In late 1932, Odets began writing a play about a middle-class Jewish family in the Bronx, initially called I Got the Blues.
    More Details Hide Details He worked diligently on this play, sharing drafts of it with Clurman and promising parts to his fellow actors – often the same parts. While at Green Mansions, their 1933 summer rehearsal venue in Warrensburg, New York, the Group performed Act II of the play, now retitled Awake and Sing!, for other camp residents. The audience was enthusiastic, but the Group's leadership, Lee Strasberg in particular, was still, at this point, opposed to producing it. Odets trained with the Group at their various summer rehearsal headquarters located in the Connecticut countryside and in the Catskills. In addition to Brookfield Center and Green Mansions, these venues included Dover Furnace in Dutchess County (1932) and a large house in Ellenville, New York (1934). The Group spent the summer of 1936 at Pine Brook Country Club in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Their final summer retreat was at Lake Grove, in Smithtown, New York, in 1939. Odets' Group training under Strasberg's tutelage was essential to his development as a playwright. He stated in an interview late in life that "My chief influence as a playwright was the Group Theatre acting company, and being a member of that company... And you can see the Group Theatre acting technique crept right into the plays."
  • 1931
    Age 24
    Odets was mesmerized by Clurman's talks, and became the last actor chosen for the Group Theatre's first summer of rehearsals in June, 1931, at Brookfield Center in Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details From the start, Odets was relegated to small roles and understudying other actors. He understudied lead actor Luther Adler during the Group Theatre's production of John Howard Lawson's Success Story, during the 1932-33 season. Much to Odets' frustration, Adler never missed a performance. With the extra time on his hands and at Clurman's urging, Odets began to write plays. Like Lawson, a member of the Communist Party, Odets was influenced by Marxism and his writing became overtly political. Odets credited Lawson with giving him an understanding of the power of colloquial language. Odets wrote two early plays, an autobiographical piece entitled 910 Eden Street, and one about his hero, Beethoven, entitled "Victory." Clurman dismissed these two plays as juvenilia, but encouraged his friend to continue writing while steering him towards familiar milieus.
  • 1929
    Age 22
    He acted in small roles in a number of Theatre Guild productions between 1929 and 1931.
    More Details Hide Details It was at the Theatre Guild that he befriended the casting director, Cheryl Crawford. Crawford suggested that Harold Clurman, then a play reader for the Guild, invite Odets to a meeting to discuss new theatre concepts they were developing with Lee Strasberg.
    Odets landed his first job with the prestigious Theatre Guild in the fall of 1929, as an extra playing bit parts.
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    The young Odets spent several summers as a dramatics counselor at camps in the Catskills and the Poconos. He toured extensively with stock companies, playing a large variety of roles. Odets got his Broadway break in 1929, when he was cast as understudy to Spencer Tracy in Conflict by Vincent Lawrence.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1926
    Age 19
    In this capacity he saw the 1926 Broadway production of Seán O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock.
    More Details Hide Details O'Casey's work would prove to be a powerful influence on Odets as a playwright.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1906
    Born
    Born on July 18, 1906.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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