Charles Brackett

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Charles William Brackett
Born (1892-11-26)November 26, 1892
Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
Died March 9, 1969(1969-03-09) (aged 76)
Beverly Hills, California, USA
Occupation Writer, screenwriter
Years active 1925–1962
Awards WGA AwardBest Written Drama
1950 Sunset Boulevard

Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer.


Born on November 26, 1892 in Saratoga Springs, New York, Charles William Brackett was the son of New York State Senator, lawyer, and banker Edgar Truman Brackett. Brackett's American roots traced back to the arrival of Richard Brackett in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629, near present-day Springfield, Massachusetts and all descendants of Theodore Brackett. His mother was Mary Emma Corliss, whose 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 to 1929.

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. There were no children from that marriage.

Brackett wrote five novels: 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. He won Academy Awards for scripting The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Titanic (1953), and received an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1959. Brackett either wrote or produced an additional 39 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 classics Sunset Blvd. and The Lost Weekend. 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 pair. 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 split in 1950, upon the completion of Sunset Boulevard.

He died on March 9, 1969.[1]

Select Film Credits[edit]

("*" indicates collaboration with Billy Wilder)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "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. Charles Brackett was born in Saratoga Springs, NY, and graduated in 1915 from Williams College, where he was editor of the literary monthly and a member of… 
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Jean Hersholt
President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
Succeeded by
George Seaton