Steve Shagan

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Stephen H. "Steve" Shagan (born October 25, 1927[1]) is an American novelist, screenplay writer, television and film producer.

Shagan was born in Brooklyn, New York to Rachel (née Rosenzweig) and Barnard H. "Barney" Shagan.[2][3] Barney ran a pharmacy, Shagan's Pharmacy, at 49 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, with his brother, Samuel. After Barney's death the pharmacy went bankrupt and Samuel liquidated the assets at public auction in 1949.[4] Steve dropped out of high school and joined the United States Coast Guard when World War II broke out. While in the Coast Guard he started writing to pass the time.[2]

Shagan came to Hollywood in 1958 with his wife,[5] Elizabeth Florance "Betty" Ricker, whom he married on November 18, 1956 in New York City.[3] At first he did odd jobs, like as a stagehand at a little theater and pulling cables at MGM Studios in the middle of the night. Eventually he started working on scripts and then produced the Tarzan television show on location in Mexico. Betty talked him into to quitting and just concentrate on writing.[5] Betty, a former fashion model, was the daughter of Philomena (née Pisano) and Al Ricker. Her mother, a dancer, later remarried, to Mayo J. Duca, a Boston jazz trumpet player.[6][7] Philomena Pisano was the daughter of Katherine "Kitty" Bingham and Fred Anthony Pisano, of the musical-comedy vaudeville team of Pisano and Bingham.[8]

Steve Shagan wrote the screenplay, the novel and also co-produced, Save the Tiger, the 1974 movie, for which Jack Lemmon won the Best Actor Academy Award and Shagan was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. He won a Screenwriter's Guild Award for the film. He wrote the script first, and then while he was shopping it around Hollywood, he wrote the novel to help him deal with the stress of trying to sell the script,[9] which took two years to get produced.[5] As he was finishing the book his typewriter broke and author Harold Robbins loaned him his.[9]

Shagan went on to write the screenplay and co produce, Voyage of the Damned in 1977, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for "Best Adapted Screenplay". And The Formula in 1980. Of the performances by Brando and Scott in The Formula, Steve Shagan reportedly stated: "I sensed a loss of purpose, a feeling that they didn't want to work any more and had come to think of acting as playing with choo-choo trains."[10]


His novels include:[11]

  • Save the Tiger (1972)
  • City of Angels (1975; filmed as Hustle)
  • Nightwings (1978; with Martin Cruz Smith)
  • The Formula (1979)
  • The Circle (1982)
  • The Discovery (1984)
  • Vendetta (1986)
  • Pillars of Fire (1990)
  • A Cast of Thousands (1994)


  1. ^ Kaplan, Mike (1981). Variety International Showbusiness Reference. Garland Publishing. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-8240-9341-9. 
  2. ^ a b Shagan, Steve (1980). The Formula. Bantam. p. 336. ISBN 978-0-553-13801-6. 
  3. ^ a b Stephen H. Shagan profile,
  4. ^ "Bankruptcy Notices", Brooklyn Eagle, January 19, 1949: 9 
  5. ^ a b c Thomas, Bob (September 12, 1984), "Shagan Has Written Hits in His Austere Cloister", The Leader-Post (Associated Press): C-19 
  6. ^ McKinnon, George (May 26, 1982). "Lives in the Arts; She's Still Plugged into Show Business". Boston Globe. p. 1. 
  7. ^ "OBITUARY: Philomena Duca, 84, of Sandwich, ex-dancer", Boston Herald, February 21, 1996: 47 
  8. ^ Uno (June 27, 1953). "Burlesque Bits". Billboard: 42. 
  9. ^ a b "Climb Painful, But Rewarding", Sarasota Journal (NEA), November 27, 1972: B 
  10. ^ "Marlon Brando", The Telegraph, July 3, 2004 
  11. ^ Thomson Gale (Firm) (1990). The Writers Directory: 1990–92. St. James Press. p. 894. ISBN 978-1-55862-032-2. 

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