Jay Dratler

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Jay Dratler (September 14, 1910- September 25, 1968) was an American screenwriter and novelist.[1][2]


Born in New York City, his mother was from Austria. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1920s, he studied at the Sorbonne in France and the University of Vienna,[3] becoming fluent in French and German. He returned to the United States in 1932.[1]

Cashing in on his exceptional language skills on his return to the United States, he was employed as an editor by a New York publisher and translated the books Goya and Zeppelin from German to English.[1]

He moved to Hollywood and become a successful screenwriter and novelist. He wrote six novels, many screenplays and more than twenty television scripts.[1] He was considered very influential during the classic era of film noir in the 1940s. He won both an Academy Award and an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Call Northside 777, and was nominated for an Oscar for his writing on Laura. The 1948 film Pitfall was based on Dratler's novel of the same title.

Late in life, Dratler began learning Spanish and became fluent, moving to Mexico City in the sixties.[3] Dratler died of a heart attack at the British-American Hospital in Mexico City in 1968. His body was returned to New York.[2] He was survived by his widow Berenice, a daughter, and a son, Jay Dratler, Jr., who became a professor of law at the University of Akron School of Law,[3] specializing in intellectual property law.[4]




  • Goya. A portrait of the artist as a man (1936) Knight Publications, New York
         Translated by Clement Greenberg, Emma Ashton and Jay Dratler,
         from the German by Manfred Schneider (1935) Don Francisco de Goya
  • Zeppelin, the story of lighter-than-air craft (1937) Longmans & Co., London
         Translated by Jay Dratler from the German by Ernst A Lehmann and Leonhard Adelt (1936)
         Auf Luftpatrouille und Weltfahrt - Erlebnisse eines Zeppelinführers in Krieg und Frieden - Zeppelin,
         Schmidt & Günther, Kelkheim, Germany ISBN 978-0025828308


Dratler's films as screenwriter, often with collaborators, include:


  • A Grape for Seeing (1965)[14]
  • The Women of Troy (1966)[15]


  1. ^ a b c d "Jay Dratler, Screenwriter, Dies in Mexico" (8 Oct 1968) Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ a b "Jay Dratler Dies; Wrote for Screen" (October 16, 1968) New York Times
  3. ^ a b c "Jay Dratler collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Retirement celebration to honor Jay Dratler Jr." (December 1, 2009) The Digest, University of Akron Archived September 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Manhattan Side Street (1936) Longmans, Green and Co., New York
  6. ^ The Judas Kiss (1955) Henry Holt and Co., New York
  7. ^ "Movies" (June 05, 1940) New York Times
  8. ^ "Movie Review - Meet Boston Blackie - At the Rialto" (February 26, 1941) New York Times
  9. ^ " 'The Wife Takes a Flyer', a Labored Farce Film, With Joan Bennett and Franchot Tone, at the Capitol" (June 19, 1942) New York Times
  10. ^ "Bosley Crowther" (January 22, 1944) New York Times
  11. ^ "Movie Review" (June 11, 1945) New York Times
  12. ^ "Movie Review - That Wonderful Urge" (December 22, 1948) New York Times
  13. ^ "Screen: About von Braun; I Aim at the Stars Opens at the Forum" (October 20, 1960) New York Times
  14. ^ "John Ireland and John Saxon will co-star in the nation premiere of 'A Grape for Seeing' " (June 18, 1965) San Mateo Times, San Mateo, California
  15. ^ "Cornell Pledges Aid for Theater" (May 11, 1966) New York Times

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