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Famous Like Me > Writer > S > Irwin Shaw

Profile of Irwin Shaw on Famous Like Me

Name: Irwin Shaw  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 27th February 1913
Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Irwin Shaw (né Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff, February 27, 1913 - May 16, 1984) was an American Jewish playwright, screen writer and author.

Irwin Shamforoff was born in the Bronx, New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants. Shortly after Irwin's birth, the Shamforoffs moved to Brooklyn, and their family name was changed to Shaw. Irwin spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn.

Shaw graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934. During his time at the college, he wrote for a school newspaper. Shaw began screen writing in 1935, at the age of 21. Among other things, he wrote for several radio shows, including Dick Tracy.

In 1936, Shaw's first play, Bury the Dead, about a group of soldiers killed in a battle, was produced. During the 1940s, Shaw wrote for a number of films, including Talk of the Town (a comedy about civil liberties), The Commandos Strike at Dawn (based on a C.S. Forester story about commandos in occupied Norway) and Easy Living (about a footballer faced with being unable to play due to a medical condition).

Shaw enlisted in the U.S. Army and was a warrant officer during World War II. The hugely successful The Young Lions, Shaw's first novel, was published in 1948, based on his experiences in Europe during the war. It was adapted into a film in 1958, however, the film bore little resemblance to the book, which embittered Shaw.

Shaw's second novel, The Troubled Air, chronicling the rise of McCarthyism, was published in 1951. He was one of the ones who signed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo convictions for contempt of Congress resulting from hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Falsely accused of being a communist by the Red Channels publication, Shaw was placed on the Hollywood blacklist by the movie studio bosses. In 1951 he left the United States and went to Europe where he would live for the next 25 years, mostly in Paris and Switzerland. He later claimed that the blacklist "only glancingly bruised" his career.

During the 1950s, he wrote several more screenplays, including Desire Under the Elms (based on Eugene O'Neill's play) and Fire Down Below (about a tramp boat in the Caribbean).

While living in Europe, Shaw wrote more bestselling books, notably Lucy Crown (1956), Two Weeks in Another Town (1960), Rich Man, Poor Man (1970) (which he would later write a less successful sequel to) and Evening in Byzantium (made into a TV movie in 1978). Rich Man, Poor Man was adapted into a highly successful miniseries in 1976.

During his life, Irwin Shaw won a number of prestigious awards, including two O. Henry Awards, a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant and three Playboy Awards.

Irwin Shaw died in Davos, Switzerland.

External Link

  • 1989 audio interview of Michael Schnayerson, the biographer of Irwin Shaw, RealAudio

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Irwin Shaw