Irving Brecher

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Irving S. Brecher
Born (1914-01-17)January 17, 1914
New York City, New York
Died November 17, 2008 (age 94)
Los Angeles California
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California[1]
Occupation Screenwriter, producer, director
Years active 1937–1963
Spouse(s) Eve Bennett
(m. ?–1981; her death)
Norma Brecher
(m. 1983–2008; his death)

Irving S. Brecher (January 17, 1914 – November 17, 2008) was a screenwriter who wrote for the Marx Brothers; he was the only writer to get sole credit on a Marx Brothers film including At the Circus in 1939 and Go West in 1940. He was also one of the numerous uncredited writers on the screenplay of 1939's The Wizard of Oz. Some of his other screenplays were Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), Ziegfeld Follies (1946) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963).

Early years[edit]

Born in the Bronx, New York, Brecher's first professional involvement with movies came when he became an usher at a Manhattan, New York movie theater at age 19.[2] Even as a teenager he was writing jokes, sending them to newspaper columnists Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan on postcards.[3]

Career[edit]

He created, produced, and was head writer for the original radio and early TV edition of The Life of Riley.[4] He also wrote for Al Jolson on radio[5] and later created and co-produced The People's Choice as well.

Brecher's career in screenwriting began in 1937.[5]

Adapting Nathaniel Benchley's novel, he wrote the screenplay for, and directed Sail A Crooked Ship starring Ernie Kovacs and a young Robert Wagner.

He received an Academy Award nomination in 1944 for his screenplay of Meet Me in St Louis.[6]

As an aspiring young comedy writer, Brecher famously placed an ad in Variety looking for work, promising he could write "jokes so bad, even Milton Berle wouldn't steal them." He was promptly hired by Berle himself.[7]

Brecher sometimes filled in for Groucho in Marx Brothers publicity photos, despite the almost 25-year age difference.

His memoirs, The Wicked Wit of the West: The last great Golden-Age screenwriter shares the hilarity and heartaches of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Burns, Berle, Benny & many more, was published posthumously in January 2009 by Ben Yehuda Press.[8]

Death[edit]

Brecher died November 17, 2008. He was survived by his wife and three stepchildren.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Irving S. Brecher at Find a Grave
  2. ^ a b Bergan, Ronald (March 11, 2009). "Irving Brecher". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Irving Brecher". The Telegraph. November 20, 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Schaden, Chuck (Spring 2009). "Necrology for 2008". Nostalgia Digest 35 (2): 55–59. 
  5. ^ a b Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P.159.
  6. ^ "1944 (17th)". oscars.org. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ O'Brian, Jack (November 24, 1948). "Broadway". Fitchburg Sentinel. p. 6. Retrieved July 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  8. ^ "Ben Yehuda Press page for The Wicked Wit of the West: The last great Golden-Age screenwriter shares the hilarity and heartaches of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Burns, Berle, Benny & many more by Irving Brecher as told to Hank Rosenfeld". 

External links[edit]