Dore Schary

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Dore Schary
Born Isadore Schary
(1905-08-31)August 31, 1905
Newark, New Jersey, US
Died July 7, 1980(1980-07-07) (aged 74)
New York City
Occupation Screenwriter, playwright, film director, studio executive

Isadore "Dore" Schary (August 31, 1905 – July 7, 1980) was an American motion picture director, writer, and producer, and playwright who became head of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and eventually president of the studio.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Schary had his first success as a writer when a play he wrote, Too Many Heroes, ran on Broadway for 16 performances in the fall of 1937. He worked in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and in 1938 won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story as co-writer of the screenplay for Boys Town. From 1942 to 1943, he ran MGM's "B" pictures organization. He was with RKO Pictures when in 1948 he became chief of production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios.

Schary and studio chief and founder Louis B. Mayer were constantly at odds over philosophy, with Mayer favoring splashy, wholesome entertainment and Schary leaning toward what Mayer derided as "message pictures". In the postwar period, MGM's success as a studio declined. The MGM corporate office in New York decided that Schary might be able to turn the tide. Schary was involved in disputes at the studio with Mayer over films such as Battleground and The Red Badge of Courage. In 1951, Mayer was ousted and Schary installed as president. He was replaced in 1956 by Benny Thau, another long-term executive.

During his term, the studio system was coming to an end as a result of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1948), the Supreme Court decision which severed the connection between film studios and the theaters which showed their films.[3] In addition, television was causing a decrease in theater attendance.

MGM swimming star Esther Williams would later state in her 1999 autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid, that Schary was rude, cruel, and as imperious as Mayer had been. She noted that she thought it appropriate that Schary was fired on Thanksgiving Day, since he was a "turkey". In 1956 in his final year running MGM, he appeared on the show This is Your Life. Host Ralph Edwards stated that there had never been a show where more stars appeared to honor a guest.

Following his departure from MGM, Schary wrote the Broadway play Sunrise at Campobello. The play won five Tony Awards. He wrote and produced the motion picture of the same name in 1960. He also had a brief uncredited role in the film as Chairman of the Connecticut Delegation.[4]

Politics[edit]

Although one of the studio executives who formulated the 1947 Waldorf Statement, he became an outspoken opponent of the anti-communist investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He served as National Chairman of the B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League and as New York City Commissioner for Cultural Affairs.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Schary was born in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Central High School in Newark in 1923. He worked as a printer in his youth at Art Craft Press in Newark, N.J.

He was the father of the novelist and memoirist Jill Robinson.

Schary died in 1980, aged 74, and was interred in the Hebrew Cemetery, West Long Branch, New Jersey.

Legacy[edit]

To honor his memory, the Anti-Defamation League established the Dore Schary Awards in 1982.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the popular one-act comedy "Adaptation", written by Elaine May, the lead character Phil Bensen names his son "Dore Schary Junior" and another actor plays the son for the rest of the show.

Select Filmography[edit]

As Head of MGM B Unit[edit]

For David O. Selznick[edit]

As Head of RKO[edit]

Produced While Head of MGM[edit]

Theatre Credits[edit]

  • Too Many Heroes (1937) - writer
  • Sunrise at Campobello (1958) - writer, producer
  • A Majority of One (1959) - producer, director
  • Triple Play (1959) - producer
  • The Highest Tree (1959) - writer, producer, director
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960) - producer, director
  • The Devil's Advocate (1961) - writer, producer, director
  • Something About a Soldier (1962) - producer, director
  • Love and Kisses (1963) - producer, director
  • One by One (1964) - writer, producer, director
  • The Zulue and the Zayda (1965) - producer, director
  • Brightower (1970) - writer
  • Herzl (1976) - writer, producer

References[edit]

External links[edit]