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William Rose (screenwriter)

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Wedding of William Rose (in his Black Watch uniform) and Tania Price in 1943

William Rose (August 31, 1918 – February 10, 1987) was an American screenwriter of British and Hollywood films.[1]

Life and career


Born in Jefferson City, Missouri, Rose traveled to Canada after the 1939 outbreak of World War II and volunteered to fight with the Black Watch.[2] After being stationed at bases in Scotland and Europe, he returned to live in Britain at war's end to work as a screenwriter, marrying an English woman, Tania Price, with whom he would later collaborate.[3]

Blessed with the ability to adapt to two distinct cultures, William Rose wrote a number of successful British comedies including Genevieve (1953).[3] He became a working associate of the American-born director Alexander Mackendrick notably for his collaboration on The Maggie (US:High and Dry, 1954) and The Ladykillers (1955).[3] He also provided scripts for Hollywood studios, earning several Academy Award nominations for his screenwriting and winning the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).[4] Rose also won the Writers Guild of America award for Best Written American Comedy for The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966).[5]

In 1973, Rose's lifetime achievements were recognized by the Writers Guild of America with their Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement.[6] In the 1970s, he had a brief relationship with Katharine Hepburn.[7]

Rose settled in Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1964.[8] He died there in 1987.[9] He is buried in the Churchyard at St. Clement Parish Church, Jersey. William and Tania divorced; she died in 2015 aged 95.[10][11]

Screenwriting awards

Year Award Category Film Result
1954 Academy Awards Best Story and Screenplay Genevieve Nominated
1957 Best Screenplay – Original The Ladykillers Nominated
1966 Best Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Nominated
1967 Best Story and Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Won
1954 British Academy Film Awards Best British Screenplay The Maggie Nominated
1955 The Ladykillers Won
Touch and Go Nominated
1957 The Man in the Sky (Shared with John Eldridge) Nominated
The Smallest Show on Earth (Shared with John Eldridge) Nominated
1968 Best Screenplay Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Nominated
1964 Edgar Allan Poe Awards Best Motion Picture Screenplay It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Shared with Tania Rose) Nominated
1966 Golden Globe Awards Best Screenplay The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Nominated
1967 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Nominated
1967 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Written American Comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Won
1968 The Flim-Flam Man Nominated
Best Written American Drama Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Nominated
Best Written American Original Screenplay Nominated
1972 Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement Honored


Year Title Director Notes
1948 Once a Jolly Swagman Jack Lee Credited with Jack Lee & Cliff Gordon
Esther Waters Ian Dalrymple
Peter Proud
Credited with Michael Gordon & Gerard Tyrrell
1950 I'll Get You for This Joseph M. Newman Credited with George Callahan
My Daughter Joy Gregory Ratoff Credited with Robert Thoeren
1952 Gift Horse Compton Bennett Credited with William Fairchild & Hugh Hastings
1953 Genevieve Henry Cornelius
1954 The Maggie Alexander Mackendrick
1955 The Ladykillers
Touch and Go Michael Truman
1957 The Man in the Sky Charles Crichton Credited with John Eldridge
The Smallest Show on Earth Basil Dearden Credited with John Eldridge
1963 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Stanley Kramer Credited with Tania Rose
1966 The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Norman Jewison
1967 The Flim-Flam Man Irvin Kershner
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Stanley Kramer
1969 The Secret of Santa Vittoria


  1. ^ Leo Verswijver (27 February 2003). "Movies Were Always Magical": Interviews with 19 Actors, Directors, and Producers from the Hollywood of the 1930s through the 1950s. McFarland. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7864-1129-0.
  2. ^ "William Rose - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  3. ^ a b c "BFI Screenonline: Rose, William (1918-1987) Biography". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  4. ^ "William Rose - Movie and Film Awards". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "Writers Guild Awards Winners 1995-1949". awards.wga.org.
  6. ^ "Screen Laurel Award Previous Recipients". awards.wga.org.
  7. ^ Carter, Grace May (18 June 2016). Katharine Hepburn. New Word City. ISBN 9781612309613 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Oscar-winning screenwriter made his home in Jersey". Bailiwick Express. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  9. ^ "William Rose". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018.
  10. ^ "'The Ladykillers' scriptwriter from Gloucestershire village dies aged 95" Archived 2015-10-24 at the Wayback Machine, Gloucestershire Live, October 23, 2015.
  11. ^ Claudia Robinson, "Tania Rose obituary", The Guardian, December 18, 2015.