Mary C. McCall Jr.

Mary C. McCall Jr. (April 4, 1904 – April 3, 1986) was an American writer best known for her screenwriting.[1] She was a charter member and the first woman president of the Writers Guild of America (then known as the Screen Writers Guild), serving from 1942–44 and 1951–52.[2][3]

Mary C. McCall Jr.
BornApril 4, 1904
New York, New York, USA
DiedApril 3, 1986
Los Angeles, California, USA
OccupationScreenwriter

Biography

Mary C. McCall Jr. was born on April 4, 1904 to a wealthy Irish American family in New York. She wanted to be a writer from the time she was in first grade.[4] After graduating from Vassar College and Trinity College, Dublin, she began writing advertising copy and fiction.[1][3]

In 1932, McCall published her first novel, The Goldfish Bowl, a satirical comedy loosely based on Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh.[5] The film rights were purchased by Warner Bros., but McCall did not get to write the screenplay for the film version, It's Tough to Be Famous (1932) starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr.[4] Instead, Warner Bros. hired McCall on a ten-week contract to write Street of Women (1932).[5] They also tasked her to help with the screenplay of the film Scarlet Dawn (1932), based on her tragic novel of the Russian Revolution, titled Revolt.[2][6] In 1934, McCall landed a long-term contract with Warner Bros. and became involved with the Screen Writers Guild.[1][7]

McCall became an associate member of the Guild in 1934 and served her first of six terms on the executive board in 1935.[8] As a member of the negotiating committee, she worked to help secure the Guild's first contract with the studios, and as a member of the executive board, she helped secure an across-the-board wage increase from $40 to $125 per week for writers.[9] In 1942, the first year the contract was signed, McCall was elected the first woman president of the Guild.[10]

During her career, McCall wrote for Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Among her screen credits are the 1935 film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Craig's Wife (1936, directed by Dorothy Arzner), The Fighting Sullivans (1944), and Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1950). She also adapted Wilson Collison's novel Dark Dame into Maisie (1939), launching the successful Maisie series. McCall wrote or co-wrote eight of the ten films in the series.[1]

In the 1950s and 1960s, she branched out into television, being credited with four episodes of The Millionaire and one each of Sea Hunt, I Dream of Jeannie, and Gilligan's Island, among others. A number of her stories were published in such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Collier's, and The Saturday Evening Post from the 1930s to the 1950s.[11]

McCall was one of many who clashed with the conservative Motion Picture Alliance.[12] On July 27, 1954, she had to defend herself in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee against reports that she was a communist sympathizer.[2][6] She was completely exonerated by the separate California Senate Factfinding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities of the General Research Committee in its report to the California Senate.[13]

Mary C. McCall Jr. died of "complications of cancer" at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital, one day shy of her 82nd birthday.[3]

She was the first recipient of the Writers Guild's Valentine Davies Award in 1962. In 1985, she also received the Guild's Edmund J. North Award.

Complete filmography

References

  1. "Mary C. McCall Jr., Major TV, Film Writer, Dies at 81". Los Angeles Times. 1986-04-06. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  2. "Past Presidents / Mary C. McCall Jr". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  3. "Mary C. McCall, screenwriter, dies". The San Burnardino County Sun. April 6, 1986 via Newspapers.com.
  4. Smyth, J. E., 1977- author. Nobody's girl Friday : the women who ran Hollywood. p. 123. ISBN 9780190840839. OCLC 1023575960.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Smyth, p. 123-124.
  6. Slide, Anthony (November 25, 2014). "It's the Pictures That Got Small": Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age. Columbia University Press. p. 399. ISBN 9780231538220. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  7. Wilson, Victoria (November 12, 2013). A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940. Simon and Schuster. p. 484. ISBN 9781439199985. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  8. Smyth, p. 119-120.
  9. Smyth, p. 135.
  10. Hughes, Eric (February 5, 2009). "Who is Mary C. McCall Jr.?". www.thewrap.com. Retrieved 2019-05-12.
  11. "Stories Listed by Author". The FictionMags Index. Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  12. Sbardellati, John (May 1, 2012). J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood's Cold War. Cornell University Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 9780801464683. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  13. "The Case of Mary McCall". Online Archive of California. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
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