David Seidler

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David Seidler
Born 1937
London,[1] England, United Kingdom
Occupation playwright, screenwriter
Notable work The King's Speech

David Seidler (born 1937) is a British-American playwright and film and television writer.[2][3] He was most successful for writing the play and the screenplay for the film The King's Speech, for which he won the Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.

Early life and family[edit]

Seidler was born in London, where he spent his early childhood. He grew up in an upper-middle class Jewish family.[4] His father Bernard was a fur broker who bought bales of pelts on commission. He had an office in New York City. When the Seidler family's apartment in London was bombed during the Blitz in World War II, they relocated to Lingfield in Surrey.[2] Later in the war, the family resettled in America. The ship they sailed on was a member of a convoy of three ships; on the way one of these, carrying Italian prisoners-of-war from North Africa, was sunk by German U-boats. It was on the voyage to the US that Seidler developed a stammer,[2] before he celebrated his third birthday.[5]

Seidler subsequently grew up in Long Island, New York.[6] Seidler believes that his stutter might have been a response to the emotional trauma of the war. By the time he was a teenager he was well aware that his stammering made others uncomfortable, so he often chose to keep quiet.

Numerous forms of speech therapy failed him, until, at 16, he had a breakthrough. “I resolved that if I was going to stutter for the rest of my life, people were going to be stuck listening to me. I had been depressed, but now I was angry — I decided I deserved to be heard."[4] That is when, in rage he spoke the 'F' word, or "naughty word" as he recalled decades later. Two weeks later he auditioned for his school play, Shaw's Androcles And The Lion and even got a small role, of a Christian eaten by a lion. In 2005, he used it in a scene in his stage play about George VI.[2] Seidler later attended Cornell University, where he graduated with a A.B. in English[not in citation given] in 1959.[7]

As he grew older he decided to write and his first work was The Adventures Of A Penny about a penny's travel from hand to hand.[2] In an interview Seidler recalled George VI as a childhood hero, who gave him hope as he listened to his wartime speeches as a child, encouraged by his parents, "David, he was a much worse stutterer than you, and listen to him now. He's not perfect. But he can give these magnificent, stirring addresses that rallied the free world." they would say.[5]

Career[edit]

Seidler arrived in Hollywood at the age of 40, and his first job there was writing Tucker: The Man and His Dream for Francis Ford Coppola.[2]

Always wanting to write about George VI, Seidler started researching in the 1970s. After finding the surviving son of Lionel Logue, Dr. Valentine Logue, now a retired brain surgeon, he wrote him in 1981. In turn, Logue was keen to talk with Seidler and even share the notebooks his father kept while treating the King, but on the condition that he received "written permission from the Queen Mother" first. Upon writing to her, Seidler received a reply from her private secretary, asking him not to pursue the project during her lifetime. Consequently Seidler abandoned the project in 1982.[2]

The Queen Mother died in 2002, but Seidler didn't start the work until 2005, when he suffered from throat cancer, and returned to the story during a bout of creative work it inspired. Eventually he wrote the first draft of his screenplay, and his then-wife and writing partner suggested that he rewrite it as a stage play, as an exercise. She felt that the "physical confines of the stage would force him to focus on the key relationships in the story, without the distractions imposed by concern for cinematic technique."[5] In 2011 Seidler won a BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay, and later an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film The King's Speech.[8]

When writing the script, Seidler discovered that his own uncle, also named David and also a stutterer, had been sent to see Lionel Logue by his father (Seidler's grandfather).[2][7]

Personal life[edit]

In late 2005 Seidler was diagnosed with bladder cancer, but he is currently (2011) in remission.[2]

Writing credits[edit]

Production Notes Broadcaster
Adventures of the Seaspray
  • "Voyage Into Danger" (1965)
  • "The Power of Davu" (1966)
  • "The Hunt" (1966)
  • "Smuggled Cargo" (1966)
  • "Rain of Death" (1967)
  • "Battle of Copra Island" (1967)
ABC Television
Another World
  • "Episode #1.4336" (1981)
NBC
Malice in Wonderland
  • Television film (1985)
CBS
Onassis: The Richest Man in the World
  • Television film (co-written with Jacqueline Feather, 1988)
ABC
My Father, My Son
  • Television film (co-written with Jacqueline Feather, 1988)
CBS
Tucker: The Man and His Dream
  • Feature film (1988)
N/A
Whose Child Is This? The War for Baby Jessica
  • Television film (1993)
ABC
Dancing in the Dark
  • Television film (1995)
Lifetime Television
Lies He Told
  • Television film (1997)
ABC
Time to Say Goodbye?
  • Feature film (1997)
N/A
Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure
  • Television film (1998)
Walt Disney Television
Quest for Camelot
  • Feature film (1998)
N/A
The King and I
  • Feature film (1999)
N/A
Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story
  • Television film (1999)
ABC
By Dawn's Early Light
  • Television film (co-written with Jacqueline Feather, 2000)
Showtime
Soraya
  • Television film (co-written with Anna Samueli, Jacqueline Feather and Umberto Marino, 2003)
RAI
Son of the Dragon
  • Television miniseries (2006)
Hallmark Movie Channel
Kung Fu Killer
  • Television film (2008)
Spike TV
The King's Speech
  • Feature film (2010)
N/A
Queen of Spades
  • Feature film (2016)
N/A

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Work Category Result Reference
1989 Writers Guild of America Award My Father, My Son Original Long Form (with Jacqueline Feather) Nominated
Onassis: The Richest Man in the World Adapted Long Form (with Jacqueline Feather; tied with Susan Cooper for the Hallmark Hall of Fame episode "Foxfire".) Won
2002 By Dawn's Early Light Children's Script (with Jacqueline Feather) Nominated
2010 Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award The King's Speech Best Writing, Original Screenplay Nominated
Awards Circuit Community Awards Best Original Screenplay (2nd place) Won
Davis Award for Best Original Screenplay Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Best Screenplay Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Denver Film Critics Society Best Writing, Original Screenplay Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay (2nd place) Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Original Screenplay Won
Satellite Awards Best Screenplay, Original Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay, Original Won
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Best Original Screenplay Won
Village Voice Film Poll Best Screenplay Nominated
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
2011 Academy Award Best Writing, Original Screenplay Won
Golden Globe Award Best Screenplay - Motion Picture Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Screenplay (Original) Won
Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (with Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, Iain Canning and Tom Hooper) Won
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Chlotrudis Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Screenplay, Original Won
European Film Awards Best Film (with Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, Iain Canning and Tom Hooper) Nominated
Humanitas Prize Feature Film Category Won
Italian Online Movie Awards Best Original Screenplay Nominated
London Critics Circle Film Awards Screenwriter of the Year Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Screenplay (2nd place) Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
2012 International Online Film Critics' Poll Best Original Screenplay Nominated

References[edit]

External links[edit]