Robert Alan Aurthur

Robert Alan Aurthur (June 10, 1922 – November 20, 1978) was an American screenwriter, film director, and film producer.[1]

Robert Alan Aurthur
Born(1922-06-10)June 10, 1922
United States
DiedNovember 20, 1978(1978-11-20) (aged 56)
OccupationProducer, screenwriter, film director
Notable work
All That Jazz
Bea Arthur
(m. 1947; div. 1950)

Early life

Raised in Freeport, he a was pre‐med student at the University of Pennsylvania. Once World War II broke out, he left to join the Marines.[2]


In the early years of television, he wrote for Studio One and then moved on to write episodes of Mister Peepers (1952–53). He followed with teleplays for Campbell Playhouse (1954), Justice (1954), Goodyear Television Playhouse (1953–54) and Producers' Showcase (1955). One of his four 1951-55 plays for Philco Television Playhouse was the Emmy-nominated A Man Is Ten Feet Tall (1955), with Don Murray and Sidney Poitier, which was adapted two years later as the theatrical film, Edge of the City (1957) with Poitier and John Cassavetes.

He wrote two teleplays for Playhouse 90, and one of these, A Sound of Different Drummers (3 October 1957), borrowed so heavily from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 that Bradbury sued.[3] He appears with Merle Miller in David Susskind's biographical [ television bio "Give Em Hell Harry" of President Truman, and gets off a great line, " . . . going into a Howard Johnsons's was bad enough, but with a President." They discuss George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, and observations on Truman's respect for Marshall.


After 1957, he continued to write screenplays. He was one of the writers on Spring Reunion (1957), notable as Betty Hutton's last movie, following with Warlock (1959), and his earlier association with Cassavetes led to script contributions on the actor's directorial debut with Shadows (1959). After an uncredited contribution to Lilith (1964), he scripted John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix (1966).

He wrote and directed The Lost Man (1969) about a black militant (Sidney Poitier). As the writer-producer of All That Jazz (1979)[1], he received two posthumous Academy Award nominations.

Personal life

Aurthur served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was the first husband of actress Beatrice Arthur, who also served in the Marines; they divorced in 1950 and had no children. She used a variation of his surname as her professional name.[4]


Aurthur died of lung cancer in New York City, aged 56.


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