Hollywood screenwriter Budd Schulberg, best known for his Oscar-winning screenplay for On The Waterfront, has died at his home on Long Island. He was 96.
Born in 1914 in New York into a movie family - his father was Paramount production head B.P. Schulberg and his mother was sister of movie powerbroker Sam Jaffe - Schulberg wrote his first screenplay aged only 19. His entree into Hollywood came in 1937 with an uncredited contribution to David O. Selznick's A Star Is Born. He received his first credit on Little Orphan Annie a year later.
During the war Schulberg served in the OSS, the fledgling espionage agency. Fittingly, his war years had a distinctly cinematic flavour: he was assigned to John Ford's documentary unit, helping record US combat operations from D-Day to the liberation of the concentration camps and Nuremberg trials, and was involved in the arrest of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in Austria.
Schulberg's writing career continued on a stellar trajectory throughout the 1940s and '50s. His pair of Hollywood-set novels, What Makes Sammy Run (1941) and The Disenchanted (1950), were both successes and were later adapted for the stage. Both, though, marked him out as an iconoclastic figure, unafraid to paint an unflattering portrait of Hollywood (What Makes Sammy Run was influential on The Player's biting satire).
Schulberg's reputation as a Hollywood outsider was consolidated when, as an ex-member of The Communist Party, he named names at the House Un-American Activities Committee. On The Waterfront (1954), directed by fellow HUAC witness Elia Kazan, was later seen as a veiled apology for his testimony, although his great work was rewarded by Hollywood with an Academy Award.
A strong sense of social conscience led Schulberg to set up the Watts Writers Workshop in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts riots, an event he recorded in his Emmy-winning TV special, The Angry Voices Of Watts.
Schulberg's work was also infused with his great love of boxing, from ex-prizefighter Terry Malloy to the ringside hustlers that inhabit his novel The Harder They Fall, later adapted into a Bogart-starring noir. He continued to work as a boxing correspondent throughout his life and was inducted into the Boxing Hall Of Fame in 2002.
Schulberg is survived by his wife Betsy and five children.