Lenore Coffee

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Lenore Jackson Coffee
Lenore coffee.jpg
Born(1896-07-13)July 13, 1896
DiedJuly 2, 1984(1984-07-02) (aged 87)
Occupation(s)Screenwriter, playwright, novelist
SpouseWilliam J. Cowen (c. 1926 – January 16, 1964)

Lenore Jackson Coffee (July 13, 1896 – July 2, 1984) was an American screenwriter, playwright, and novelist.


Lenore Jackson Coffee was born in San Francisco in 1896 to Andrew Jackson Coffee Jr. and Ella Muffley. She attended Dominican College in San Rafael, California.[1] She began her career answering an ad requesting a screen story for the actress Clara Kimball Young and was awarded a one-year contract at $50 a week.[2]

She was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The first time was for Street of Chance in 1929/30, adapted from the story by Oliver H. P. Garrett, in collaboration with Howard Estabrook; and the second was with Julius J. Epstein in 1938 for Four Daughters, based on Fannie Hurst's short story Sister Act.

Of the studio system, she is quoted as saying: "They pick your brains, break your heart, ruin your digestion – and what do you get for it? Nothing but a lousy fortune."

Coffee wrote many stories related to experiences women faced during her time, yet they were not often met with commercial success. Coffee spent many years with Warner Bros., which she mentions in her autobiography as to being the only female writer. One hit that came out of that is the film Four Daughters, which she co-wrote with Julius J. Epstein.[3]

Coffee was married to writer-director William J. Cowen (1886–1964), with whom she wrote Family Portrait: A Play in Three Acts (1939). It was performed at the Morosco Theatre on Broadway from March 8 – June, 1939; and the Strand Theatre in the West End, in February 1948.[4] On April 10, 1955, a TV adaptation aired as an episode of the BBC Sunday Night Theatre series.


  • Family Portrait: A Play in Three Acts (1939) with William J. Cowen; adapted for TV in 1955
  • The Face of Love (1950) novel
  • Another Time, Another Place (1955)[5] novel, published in England as Weep No More; filmed in 1958
  • Storyline: Recollections of a Hollywood Screenwriter (1973) memoir

Further reading[edit]

Film credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Scenario Writers and Editors". Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual: 285. 1921 – via Ancestry.com.
  2. ^ Silvester, Christopher (2000). The Grove book of Hollywood. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1675-2.
  3. ^ "Lenore J. Coffee". Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  4. ^ The Spectator, February 27, 1948: "Family Portrait" by Lenore Coffee and W. Joyce
  5. ^ "Los Angeles Times, Oct 28 1956, p. 97". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2019-01-31.

External links[edit]