On the Waterfront Scribe Budd Schulberg Dead at 95
Budd Schulberg, the Oscar-winning writer of On the Waterfront, A Face in the Crowd and the classic Hollywood novel What Makes Sammy Run?, died Wednesday afternoon at age 95. Doctors cited natural causes.
Schulberg first began contributing to screenplays in the late '30s, breaking off during World War II as an enlisted Navy man working with John Ford's documentary crew. He was among the first group of American servicemen to help liberate concentration camps in Europe, and later personally arrested Nazi documentarian Leni Rieftenstahl while gathering evidence for the Nuremberg trials. Less than a decade later Schulberg was caught up in the Communist witchhunt of the '50s, controversially naming names with collaborator Elia Kazan in his testimony to Congress.
Schulberg had been largely inactive in movies and TV since the early 1960s, turning instead to sportswriting and other literary pursuits; he was a 2002 Boxing Hall of Fame inductee. His Sammy remains a landmark Hollywood pseudo-expose and one of the film industry's most vexing, unadaptable properties; a TV version trickled out in 1949, but Ben Stiller's attempts to write, direct and star as the title character stalled in the late '90s. Paramount currently owns the rights, which Schulberg had considered repurchasing in recent years. Alas. But, to paraphrase his most famous line, he was always a contender.