Budd Schulberg, the Jewish-American author and screenwriter, has died at age 95. People don’t talk about him much these days, but his influence has been profound.
Sitting on my bookshelf not far from me as I write this are three of his books:
– The Disenchanted (1951), a novel based on the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald
– What Makes Sammy Run? (1941), his classic novel about a striving and pushy Jewish writer and film producer – certainly his most famous book
– Waterfront (1955), which was developed from his Oscar-winning screenplay of the film On the Waterfront (starring Marlon Brando, 1954)
Lest you think Schulberg’s influence is gone, Susan King’s article entitled “The Many Faces of Sammy Glick” in the Los Angeles Times of August 8, 2009 details ten films where a significant character is based on his Sammy Glick: A Face in the Crowd, The Comedian, Swimming with Sharks, Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder (Tom Cruise as Les Grossman), The Player, Entourage, Barton Fink, Sweet Smell of Success and All About Eve.
Here are some famous Budd Schulberg quotes:
– L.B. Mayer called me a traitor, ..’I blame you for this,’ he told my father, ‘because you should have stopped him. We should deport him.’ That was Hollywood. I often think it was like Venice under the doges.”
– I could have had class. I could have been a contender. (From On the Waterfront)
– Boxing is a mental sport. Think of a prizefight as a chess game of mind and body, and you are a little closer to it than if you compare it to a bloody brawl in an alley.
– Very few fighters get the consideration of racehorses, which are put out to pasture to grow old with dignity and comfort when they haven’t got it anymore.”
– You either go along with the system – conform to what is expected to be a hit – or you have very tough going.
– As much as I love boxing, I hate it. And as much as I hate it, I love it.
– Silence is the sure sign that you’re on your way out in Hollywood.
– Darryl Zanuck turned us down at Twentieth Century-Fox. He told us no one is going to care about a lot of sweaty longshoremen.
– Fights can be dumped in a dozen ways. Sometimes everybody but the fighter knows. Sometimes only the fighter knows.
– You can’t eat your friends and have them too.
Here are links to good articles about Schulberg:
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/movies/06schulberg.html?_r=1&8mu&emc=mua2
The Guardian (UK): http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/aug/06/budd-schulberg-obituary