Eleanore Griffin

Eleanore Griffin (19041995) was an American screenwriter who worked in Hollywood. She is best known for co-writing the film Boys Town, which she won an Oscar for in 1938.[1] Griffin worked on and wrote for over 20 different Hollywood films between 1937 and 1964.

Eleanore Griffin
Eleanore Mary Griffin

April 29, 1904
Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
DiedJuly 25, 1995
Woodland Hills, California, USA

Personal life

Griffin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1904, the daughter of Patrick Griffin (and Irish immigrant) and Nellie Shine.[2]

While in Hollywood, Griffin struggled at times with alcoholism, which resulted in a break from her work from 1948 until 1955.[3]

Griffin was romantically involved with fellow studio writer William Rankin.[3] The two were meant to be wed in 1937 in Tijuana, Mexico, but because of technicalities in Mexican law were never officially married.[3] This fact was revealed to them when they sought out a divorce the following year in 1938.[3] The two continued a professional relationship, working together on six different scripts.[3]

Griffin died at the age of 91 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.[2]


Griffin got into writing as a journalist in the 1920s.[3] She started in Hollywood at the age of 33 when she began writing for different studios and wrote the story for the film Time out for Romance (1937).[1] Her first job in Hollywood was working at Universal writing short stories, or treatments, which if accepted would later be turned into a screenplay.[3]

After her start in 1937, Griffin would go on to write for more than 30 years in Hollywood.[4] In those 30 years, she worked for a number of different studios, such as MGM, Disney, Fox, and Paramount.[4] Her screenplays and stories were the basis for many famous directors of the time, such as Douglas Sirk and George Sidney.

In 1938, Griffin won her first and only Oscar for co-writing the story for the film Boys Town.[1] The film, directed by Norman Taurog, is based on the real-life priest Father Edward J. Flanagan, who tried to help a group of underprivileged boys through a home that he founded called Boys Town.[5] In 1994, Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House of Representatives, referenced the film to argue that philanthropists would help people who were affected by government cuts.[2]

Several films written by Griffin deal with characters who are religious figures.[2] This includes her Oscar-winning film Boys Town, with the character of Father Flanagan, as well as A Man Called Peter, with the character of Peter Marshall, a Presbyterian minister, and Reverend Norman Vincent Peale in One Man’s Way.[2]



Year Title Credits
1937 Time Out for Romance Story
1937 When Love is Young Story
1937 Love in a Bungalow Story
1937 Thoroughbreds Don't Cry Original Story
1938 Boys Town Original Story
1939 St. Louis Blues Original Story
1939 Street of Missing Men Story
1941 I Wanted Wings Story
1941 Blondie in Society Story
1943 In Old Oklahoma Screenplay
1944 Hi, Beautiful Story
1945 Nob Hill Story
1946 The Harvey Girls[6] Original Story
1948 Tenth Avenue Angel Writer
1955 A Man Called Peter Screenplay
1955 Good Morning, Miss Dove Screenplay
1959 Imitation of Life Screenplay
1959 Third Man on the Mountain Screenplay
1961 Back Street Screenplay
1964 One Man's Way Writer


Year Show Episodes Credits
1955 Fireside Theatre "The Blessing of Pets" (Season 2, Episode 32) Original Story
1956 Climax! "An Episode of Sparrows" (Season 2 Episode 25) Writer
1963 Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color "Banner in the Sky: To Conquer the Mountain", "Banner in the Sky: The Killer Mountain" (Season 9, Episodes 20 & 21) Writer


  1. "Eleanore Griffin - About This Person - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  2. "Eleanore Griffin, 91; Screenwriter Shared 'Boys Town' Oscar". The New York Times. 1995-07-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  3. Staggs, Sam (2009). Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 9780312605551.
  4. "`BOYS TOWN' SCREENWRITER ELEANORE GRIFFIN DIES AT 91". DeseretNews.com. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  5. "The Story Behind The Movie - boystownmovie.org". www.boystownmovie.org. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  6. Kennedy, Samuel V. (1999-01-01). Samuel Hopkins Adams and the Business of Writing. Syracuse University Press. p. 233. ISBN 9780815627999.
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