October 13, 1914
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||March 14, 1981 66) (aged|
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Western Reserve University|
Leo G. Bayer
(m. 1937; div. 1958)
(m. 1960; div. 1971)
|Children||2, including William Bayer|
Film critic Charles Champlin fondly remembered Perry as the feminist who "discovered a ladder and a can of spray paint" to protest, deface and demonstrate her distaste for Federico Fellini's sexist "she-wolf" Roma posters at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival. The outspoken Eleanor Perry was an advocate for women's rights and screenwriters' recognition, often criticizing the film industry.
Born and raised to a Jewish family in Cleveland, Ohio, she attended Western Reserve University, where she wrote for the college's literary magazine. Together with her first husband, attorney Leo G. Bayer, she wrote a series of suspense novels, including Paper Chase (1942), made into the movie Dangerous Partners in 1945. After earning a master's degree in psychiatric social work, she began to write plays, enjoying Broadway success in 1958 with Third Best Sport, a collaboration with her husband. The two were divorced shortly after.
She won an Emmy award for her television screenplay adaptation of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. Perry and her then-husband were responsible for 1968's The Swimmer starring Burt Lancaster, Diary of a Mad Housewife starring Carrie Snodgrass and the Academy Award-nominated independent film, David and Lisa among other films.
In 1977, she was among the first wave of honorees of the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.
Also in 1977, Perry became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP). WIFP is an American nonprofit publishing organization. The organization works to increase communication between women and connect the public with forms of women-based media.
In 1960, she married aspiring film director Frank Perry, with whom she formed a long-lasting professional partnership. Their first film, the low-budget David and Lisa, for which she drew upon her psychiatric background, earned the couple Academy Award nominations for writing and direction. In 1966, she and Truman Capote adapted his novella, A Christmas Memory, for the anthology series ABC Stage 67, which earned her the first of two Emmy Awards. (The second was for The House Without a Christmas Tree in 1972).
Following her divorce from Perry in 1971, she wrote a roman à clef about her marriage, incorporating many of the problems she faced as a female screenwriter in Hollywood into her 1979 novel, Blue Pages. In 1972, she was head of the jury at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival.
Her son, William Bayer, is a crime fiction writer.
- Variety "Eleanor Perry Obituary" March 17, 1981
- Los Angeles Times "Critic at Large: Memories of Writer Linger" by Charles Champlin, March 1981
- The Cleveland Press "Obituaries: Eleanor Perry dies, was screenwriter, feminist" March 17, 1981
- Erens, Patricia (August 1988). The Jew in American Cinema. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-20493-6.
- The Cleveland Press "Obituaries: Eleanor Perry dies, was screenwriter, feminist", March 17, 1981
- Canby, Vincent (June 11, 1969). "Last Summer (1969) Screen: 'Last Summer':Cinema I Film Brings Trio of Newcomers". The New York Times.
- "Past Recipients". Wif.org. Archived from the original on 2011-08-20.
- "Associates | The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press". www.wifp.org. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
- "Berlinale 1972: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-03-15.