Charles William Brackett
|Died||March 9, 1969 (aged 76)|
|Alma mater||Williams College|
(m. 1919; died 1948)
|Awards||Best Original Screenplay|
1950 Sunset Boulevard
Best Adapted Screenplay
1945 The Lost Weekend
Academy Honorary Award
1959 Lifetime Achievement 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. He collaborated with Billy Wilder on sixteen films.
Life and career
Brackett was born 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. A 1915 graduate of Williams College, he earned his law 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. 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 a president of the Screen Writers Guild (1938–1939) and for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (1949–1955). He either wrote and/or produced over forty films, 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.
Beginning in August 1936, Brackett worked with Billy Wilder, writing the film classics The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard, both of which won Academy Awards for their respective screenplays. Brackett described their collaboration process as follows: "The thing to do was suggest an idea, have it torn apart and despised. In a few days it would be apt to turn up, slightly changed, as Wilder's idea. Once I got adjusted to that way of working, our lives were simpler."
He received an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1958.
Charles Brackett died on March 9, 1969. His diaries covering his screenwriting and social life from 1932 to 1949 were edited by Anthony Slide into Slide's book It's the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age.
Brackett married Elizabeth Barrows Fletcher, a descendant of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, on June 2, 1919. They had two daughters, Alexandra Corliss Brackett, Mrs. Larmore (1920–1965) and Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett (1922–1997). Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett the elder died on June 7, 1948. In 1953, Brackett married his former sister-in-law (Elizabeth's sister, Lillian Fletcher); that union was childless.
- Tomorrow's Love (1925) – based on a story Interlocutory
- Risky Business (1926) – based on a story Pearls Before Cecily
- Pointed Heels (1929) – based on a story
- Secrets of a Secretary (1931) – based on a 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
- The Bishop's Wife (1947) – uncredited writer
- 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 Wilder)
Awards 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||—|
|1945||Best Adapted Screenplay||The Lost Weekend||Won||Billy Wilder|
|1946||Best Story||To Each His Own||Nominated|
|1948||Best Adapted Screenplay||A Foreign Affair||Nominated||Billy Wilder & Richard L. Breen|
|1950||Best Picture||Sunset Boulevard||Nominated||—|
|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||—|
- See Drewey Wayne Gunn, Gay American Novels, 1870–1970: A Reader's Guide (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2016), 21-22.
- Brackett, Charles, It's the Pictures That Got Small, Columbia University Press, 2015, pg. 92
- "Charles Brackett Dies at 77; Made Oscar-Winning Movies. 'Sunset Boulevard,' 'The Lost Weekend' and 'Titanic' among his successes". The 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…
- Hopper, H. (December 27, 1953). "Charlie Brackett marries sister of his first wife". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 166556164.
- Critchlow, Donald T. (October 21, 2013). When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. ISBN 9781107650282.
- "Secrets of a Secretary". AFI Catalog of Featured Films. Retrieved November 16, 2020.