Lenore Coffee

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Lenore J. Coffee
Lenore coffee.jpg
Born (1896-07-13)July 13, 1896
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died July 2, 1984(1984-07-02) (aged 87)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation screenwriter, playwright, novelist
Spouse(s) William J. Cowen (c. 1926 – 16 January 1964)

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


Coffee began her career when she answered an ad requesting a screen story for the actress Clara Kimball Young and was awarded a one-year contract at $50 a week.[1]

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 there were not met with great reviews and open arms.

Coffee spent many years with Warner Brothers, 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 cowrote with Julius J. Epstein.

Gale Page in Four Daughters trailer.jpg

Coffee was married to writer and director William J. Cowen, and one of her ancestors was U.S. General John Coffee, Chief of Staff to Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in 1814.

Published works[edit]

  • Storyline: Recollections of a Hollywood Screenwriter. London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1973. ISBN 0-304-29245-1. (autobiography)
  • Weep No More. London: Cassell & Company Ltd., 1955. (novel)
  • w/ Cowen, William Joyce. Family Portrait, 1939. (play). The play was performed at The Strand Theatre in London in February 1948, with Fay Compton in the lead role as Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, The theatre critic Peter Forster in The Spectator wrote of her performance that "As Mary, Miss Fay Compton was deeply moving in her own right". [2]

Film credits[edit]


  1. ^ Silvester, Christopher (2000). The Grove book of Hollywood. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1675-2. 
  2. ^ The Spectator 27 February 1948: " Family Portrait " By Lenore Coffee and W. Joyce

External links[edit]

  1. ^ The Spectator 27 February 1948: " Family Portrait " By Lenore Coffee and W. Joyce