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Robert Benton

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Robert Benton
Robert Douglas Benton

(1932-09-29) September 29, 1932 (age 91)
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1967–2007
Sallie Rendig
(after 1964)

Robert Douglas Benton (born September 29, 1932) is an American screenwriter and film director. A seven-time Academy Award nominee and three-time winner, he is best known as the writer and director of the film Kramer vs. Kramer, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He later won a third Academy Award in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Places in the Heart (1984). His first script as a writer was written with David Newman for the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

Early life[edit]

Benton was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Dorothy (née Spaulding) and Ellery Douglass Benton, a telephone company employee.[1] He attended the University of Texas and Columbia University.[1]


In 1959, he co-wrote the book The IN and OUT Book with Harvey Schmidt, published by The Viking Press. He was the art director at Esquire in the early 1960s.[2]

Benton won the Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Best Original Screenplay for Places in the Heart (1984).

Benton garnered three additional Oscar nominations: two for Best Original Screenplay for both Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and The Late Show (1977) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Nobody's Fool (1994).

He also directed Twilight (1998) and Feast of Love (2007), and co-wrote the screenplays for Superman (1978) and The Ice Harvest (2005).

In 2006, he appeared in the documentary Wanderlust.

Personal life[edit]

He married artist Sallie Rendig in 1964.[3][4]


Year Title Director Writer Executive
1967 Bonnie and Clyde No Yes No
1970 There Was a Crooked Man... No Yes No
1972 What's Up, Doc? No Yes No
Bad Company Yes Yes No
1977 The Late Show Yes Yes No
1978 Superman No Yes No
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer Yes Yes No
1982 Still of the Night Yes Yes No
1984 Places in the Heart Yes Yes No
1987 Nadine Yes Yes No
1988 The House on Carroll Street No No Yes
1991 Billy Bathgate Yes No No
1994 Nobody's Fool Yes Yes No
1998 Twilight Yes Yes No
2003 The Human Stain Yes No No
2005 The Ice Harvest No Yes Yes
2007 Feast of Love Yes No No


  • A Texas Romance, 1909[5] (1964) (Short film)


Year Title Notes
1966 It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman Libretto; adaptation in television film (1975)
1969 Oh! Calcutta! Contribution in libretto; adaptation in theatrical film (1972)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Awards

Year Category Title Result
1968 Best Original Screenplay Bonnie and Clyde Nominated
1978 The Late Show Nominated
1980 Best Director Kramer vs. Kramer Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Won
1985 Best Director Places in the Heart Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Won
1995 Best Adapted Screenplay Nobody's Fool Nominated

BAFTA Awards

Year Category Title Result
1980 Best Direction Kramer vs. Kramer Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Year Category Title Result
1968 Best Screenplay Bonnie and Clyde Nominated
1980 Best Director Kramer vs. Kramer Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
1985 Places in the Heart Nominated

Directors Guild of America

Year Category Title Result
1980 Outstanding Directing Kramer vs. Kramer Won
1985 Places in the Heart Nominated

Berlin International Film Festival

Year Category Title Result
1977 Golden Bear The Late Show Nominated
1985 Silver Bear for Best Director[6] Places in the Heart Won

Other awards

Year Award Category Title Result
1978 Edgar Awards Best Motion Picture Screenplay The Late Show Won
1981 César Awards Best Foreign Film Kramer vs. Kramer Nominated
1984 Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award Won
2007 Writers Guild of America Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement[7] Won


  1. ^ a b "Robert Benton". Film Reference.
  2. ^ "Honoree Robert Benton dealt with dyslexia before awards". Sarasota Herald-Tribute.
  3. ^ "Overview for Robert Benton". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "SALLIE BENTON | Official Artist Website". Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Communications, Emmis (December 1967). The Alcalde. Emmis Communications.
  6. ^ "Berlinale: 1985 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  7. ^ "Acclaimed Screenwriter-Director Robert Benton to Receive Screen Laurel Award at 2007 Writers Guild Awards". Writers Guild of America, West. December 11, 2006. Archived from the original on January 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-16.

Archival sources[edit]

  • The Robert Benton Papers 1969–1994 (24 linear feet) are housed at the Wittliff Collections, Texas State University in San Marcos.

External links[edit]