Lenore Coffee

Lenore Jackson Coffee (1896 1984) was an American screenwriter, playwright, and novelist.

Lenore J. Coffee
Born(1896-07-13)July 13, 1896
DiedJuly 2, 1984(1984-07-02) (aged 87)
OccupationScreenwriter, playwright, novelist
Spouse(s)William J. Cowen (c. 1926 – 16 January 1964)


Lenore was born in San Francisco in 1896, and was the daughter of Andrew Jackson Coffee Jr. and Ella Muffley.

Coffee attended Dominican College in San Rafael, California.[1] Afterward, she began her career when she answered an ad requesting a screen story for the actress Clara Kimball Young and was awarded a one-year contract at $50 a week.[2]

She was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The first time was for Street of Chance in 1929/30, adapted from the story by Oliver H. P. Garrett, in collaboration with Howard Estabrook; and the second was with Julius J. Epstein in 1938 for Four Daughters, based on Fannie Hurst's short story "Sister Act."

Of the studio system, she is quoted as saying:

"They pick your brains, break your heart, ruin your digestion – and what do you get for it? Nothing but a lousy fortune."

Coffee wrote many stories related to experiences women faced during her time, yet they were not often met with commercial success. Coffee spent many years with Warner Bros., which she mentions in her autobiography as to being the only female writer. One hit that came out of that is the film Four Daughters, which she co-wrote with Julius J. Epstein.

Outside of the film industry, she wrote a novel, Another Time, Another Place, as well as a play, Family Portrait.[3]

Coffee was married to writer-director William J. Cowen.

Published works

  • Storyline: Recollections of a Hollywood Screenwriter (autobiography)
  • Another Time, Another Place, 1955 (novel; also published in England as Weep No More)
  • Family Portrait, 1939 (play, performed at The Strand Theatre in London in February 1948)[4]

Film credits


  1. "Scenario Writers and Editors". Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual: 285. 1921 via Ancestry.com.
  2. Silvester, Christopher (2000). The Grove book of Hollywood. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-1675-2.
  3. "28 Oct 1956, 97 - The Los Angeles Times at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  4. The Spectator 27 February 1948: " Family Portrait " By Lenore Coffee and W. Joyce
  1. The Spectator 27 February 1948: " Family Portrait " By Lenore Coffee and W. Joyce
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