February 27, 1930|
Los Angeles, California
|Died||April 26, 2003
Manhattan, New York
Cause of death
Peter Hess Stone (February 27, 1930 – April 26, 2003) was an American writer for theater, television and movies.
Life and career
Stone was born in Los Angeles. His mother, Hilda (née Hess), was a film writer, and his father, John Stone (born Saul Strumwasser) was the writer and producer of many silent films, including Shirley Temple and Charlie Chan movies. He graduated from University High School, attended Bard College starting in 1947, and received a master's degree from Yale University in 1953. In 1964, Stone won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his screenplay for Charade.
Stone is among that rarefied group of writers who have conquered stage, screen, and television by winning an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy. In 1965, he won an Oscar for his work as a screenwriter on Father Goose. He won Tony Awards for his books for the Broadway musicals Titanic, Woman of the Year and 1776. He wrote two episodes of the 1961 television series The Asphalt Jungle and won an Emmy for a 1962 episode of The Defenders.
Shortly after Stone's death, in a memorial ceremony held June 30, 2003, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, it was observed that the two most famous ships of all time were Noah's Ark and the Titanic, and that Stone had written Broadway musicals about both of them (Noah's Ark being the topic of Two by Two).
Stone is perhaps best remembered by the general public for the screenplays he wrote or co-wrote in the mid-1960s, Charade (1963), Father Goose (1964) and Mirage (1965). He won the Oscar for best screenplay in 1965 for his work on Father Goose. Father Goose is a fairly conventional comedy, but the remaining three films all share a common theme and a style of screenwriting. Primarily, they attempt a blend of comedy, suspense, and romance. A decade before Brian De Palma earned a reputation exploiting Hitchcockian motifs, Stone's work in the 1960s employed Hitchcock-like narratives, even while the great director was still an active film maker. Hitchcock's influence is especially evident in Edward Dmytryk's Mirage, a suspense-mystery that Stone adapted from the Howard Fast novel Fallen Angel. The narrative has Gregory Peck suffering from "unconscious amnesia" while dodging bullets in downtown New York. Although shot in black-and-white, many of its themes and images are reminiscent of Vertigo. However, it is the Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn vehicle Charade that is probably Stone's best-remembered film. Michael Caine lists Charade as his 4th favorite film of all time, behind only Casablanca, The Third Man, and On the Waterfront.
In 1964 Stone signed an exclusive five picture deal with Universal.
Stone used several fairly transparent pseudonyms in his career. As 'Pierre Marton' (literally 'Peter Stone' in French) he wrote, or co-wrote, Arabesque, Skin Game and the 1976 TV film 'One of My Wives is Missing'. When Charade was remade as The Truth About Charlie, Stone was credited on-screen as 'Peter Joshua', one of the names used by Cary Grant in the original film.
Stone died of pulmonary fibrosis on April 26, 2003 in Manhattan, New York. He was survived by his wife, Mary, and brother, David. On February 27, 2004, shortly after his death, he was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Honoring him at the induction ceremony was his close friend, legendary actress Lauren Bacall.
- Father Goose
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
- Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
- Just Cause
- Kean - 1961
- Skyscraper - 1965
- 1776 - 1969
- Two by Two - 1970
- Sugar - 1972
- Full Circle - 1973
- Woman of the Year - 1981
- My One and Only - 1983
- The Will Rogers Follies - 1991
- Titanic - 1997
- Annie Get Your Gun (revised book) - 1999
- Curtains (original book and concept) - 2006
- Death Takes a Holiday (original book, with Thomas Meehan (writer)) - 2011
- "Peter Stone Biography (1930-)". film reference. 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
- Peter Stone on the Internet Movie Database
- "Obituary: Peter Stone". The Independent. May 1, 2003.[dead link]
- "Peter Stone, Tony Award-Winning Librettist of Titanic, 1776, Dead at 73". Playbill News. April 27, 2003.
- "Peter Stone, Award-Winning Writer of '1776,' Dies at 73", New York Times, April 28, 2003.
- FILMLAND EVENTS: Peter Stone Dealt Five by Universal Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Nov 1964: 18.
- "Peter Stone Steps Down as Dramatists Guild President; Weidman Elected". Playbill. March 24, 1999. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- "Peter Stone Memoriam". The San Diego Union-Tribune. May 5, 2003. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
- "Theater honors put women in the spotlight". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Peter Stone at the Internet Movie Database
- Peter Stone Papers, 1757-2003 Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- New York Public Library Blog on Peter Stone