This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (May 2015)
|Charles William Brackett|
November 26, 1892|
Saratoga Springs, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 9, 1969
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Awards||WGA Award – Best Written Drama
1950 Sunset Boulevard
Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, best known for his long collaboration with Billy Wilder.
Life and career
Brackett was born November 26, 1892 in Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Mary Emma Corliss and New York State Senator, lawyer, and banker Edgar Truman Brackett. The family's roots traced back to the arrival of Richard Brackett in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629, near present-day Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother's uncle, George Henry Corliss, built the Centennial Engine that powered the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
Brackett was a 1915 graduate of Williams College, and received his degree from Harvard University. He joined the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I. He was awarded the French Medal of Honor. He was a frequent contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, and Vanity Fair, and a drama critic for The New Yorker from 1925-29. He wrote five novels: The Counsel of the Ungodly (1920), Week-End (1925), That Last Infirmity (1926), American Colony (1929), and Entirely Surrounded (1934).
Brackett was president of the Screen Writers Guild (1938–1939). He was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1949 through 1955. Brackett either wrote or produced over 40 films during his career, including To Each His Own, Ninotchka, The Major and the Minor, The Mating Season (1951), Niagara, The King and I, Ten North Frederick, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, and Blue Denim.
From 1936 until 1950, Brackett worked with Billy Wilder as his collaborator on thirteen movies, including The Lost Weekend (1945) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), which won Academy Awards for their screenplays. Wilder was the more profane of the two partners, while Brackett held to his upper-crust upbringing and was known as the "gentleman" of the two men. Their social and cultural backgrounds often clashed, but Brackett acknowledged later in his life that Wilder's baser instincts about human nature were invaluable to their collaboration. By the late 1940s, a schism based on personal, creative, and contractual differences, festering for many years, began to threaten the partnership.
Brackett and Wilder's professional partnership ended in 1950, after the completion of Sunset Boulevard. Brackett then went to work at 20th Century-Fox as a screenwriter and producer. His script for Titanic (1953) won him another Academy Award. He received an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1959.
Brackett married Elizabeth Barrows Fletcher, a descendant of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, on June 2, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana. They had two daughters, Alexandra Corliss Brackett (1920–1968) and Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett (1922–1997). Elizabeth died on June 7, 1948. In 1953, Brackett married Elizabeth's sister, Lillian Fletcher; that union was childless.
Charles Brackett's diaries covering the years 1932 until the breakup with Wilder were edited by Anthony Slide under the title It's the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age (Columbia University Press, 2014)
- Tomorrow's Love (1925) – writer; based on his own story Interlocutory
- Risky Business (1926) – based on his own story Pearls Before Cecily
- Pointed Heels (1929) – based on his story
- Secrets of a Secretary (1931) – based on his story
- College Scandal (1935) – writer
- Without Regret (1935) – writer
- The Last Outpost (1935) – writer
- Rose of the Rancho (1936) – writer
- Woman Trap (1936) – writer
- Piccadilly Jim (1936) – writer
- Live, Love and Learn (1937) – writer
- Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)* – writer
- What a Life (1939)* – writer
- Ninotchka (1939)* – writer
- Arise, My Love (1940)* – writer
- Hold Back the Dawn (1941)* – writer
- Ball of Fire (1941)* – writer
- The Major and the Minor (1942)* – writer
- Five Graves to Cairo (1943)* – writer, producer
- The Uninvited (1944) – producer
- The Lost Weekend (1945)* – producer, writer
- To Each His Own (1946) – writer, producer
- A Foreign Affair (1948)* – writer, producer
- The Emperor Waltz (1948)* – writer, producer
- Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948) – writer, producer
- Sunset Boulevard (1950)* – writer, producer
- Edge of Doom (1950) – writer (uncredited)
- The Mating Season (1951) – writer,producer
- The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951) – writer, producer
- Niagara (1953) – writer, producer
- Titanic (1953) – writer, producer
- Woman's World (1954) – producer
- Garden of Evil (1954) – producer
- The Virgin Queen (1955) – producer
- The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) – writer, producer
- Teenage Rebel (1956) – writer, producer
- The King and I (1956) – producer
- D-Day the Sixth of June (1956) – producer
- The Wayward Bus (1957) – producer
- The Gift of Love (1958) – producer
- Ten North Frederick (1958) – producer
- The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959) – producer
- Blue Denim (1959) – producer
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) – writer, producer
- High Time (1960) – producer
- State Fair (1962) – producer
("*" indicates collaboration with Billy Wilder)
Award and Nominations
|1939||Best Adapted Screenplay||Ninotchka||Nominated||Billy Wilder & Walter Reisch|
|1941||Best Adapted Screenplay||Hold Back the Dawn||Nominated||Billy Wilder|
|1945||Best Picture||The Lost Weekend||Won||N/A|
|1945||Best Adapted Screenplay||The Lost Weekend||Won||Billy Wilder|
|1948||Best Adapted Screenplay||A Foreign Affair||Nominated||Billy Wilder & Richard L. Breen|
|1950||Best Picture||Sunset Boulevard||Nominated||N/A|
|1950||Best Original Screenplay||Sunset Boulevard||Won||Billy Wilder & D.M. Marshman, Jr.|
|1953||Best Original Screenplay||Titanic||Won||Richard L. Breen & Walter Reisch|
|1956||Best Picture||The King and I||Nominated||N/A|
- Charles Brackett at the Internet Movie Database
- Charles Brackett papers at the Margaret Herrick Library
- Hopper, H. (December 27, 1953). Charlie Brackett marries sister of his first wife. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File); accessed January 18, 2016.
- "Charles Brackett Dies at 77; Made Oscar-Winning Movies. 'Sunset Boulevard,' 'The Lost Weekend' and 'Titanic' among his successes". New York Times. March 10, 1969. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
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|Non-profit organization positions|
|President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences