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Overview for Daniel Taradash
Daniel Taradash

Daniel Taradash



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Also Known As: Died: February 22, 2003
Born: January 29, 1913 Cause of Death: pancreatic cancer
Birth Place: Louisville, Kentucky, USA Profession: Writer ... screenwriter director


Daniel Taradash was born in Kentucky and raised in Chicago and Miami Beach. While an undergraduate at Harvard, he met his future producing partner Jules Blaustein. After completing his studies at Harvard, including obtaining a law degree and passing the New York State bar, he seemed set on a legal career. But when his play "The Mercy" won the 1938 Bureau of New Plays contest (the two previous winners were Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams), it seemed likely Taradash would find success on stage. While his play received a staging at NYU, it was enough of a calling card to land him work in Hollywood, where he proved a smart, capable scripter, often of adaptations. His first assignment was as one of four credited writers on the screen version of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" (1939).

During WWII, Taradash served in the US Army and eventually underwent training in the Signal Corps Officer Candidate program and found himself assigned to the Signal Corps Photo Center. There, he became reacquainted with college chum Jules Blaustein and worked as a writer and producer of training films. After the war, Taradash attempted to find success on Broadway with an American version of Jean-Paul Sartre's "Red Gloves," but the show folded quickly and he returned to Hollywood. He first garnered attention as the co-writer (with John Monks Jr) of the Humphrey Bogart vehicle "Knock on Any Door" (1949). The Fritz Lang Western "Rancho Notorious" and the psychodrama "Don't Bother to Knock" (both 1952) were routine scripts saved by strong performances (Marlene Dietrich and Arthur Kennedy in the former, Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe in the latter). Taradash achieved his high-water mark with his skillful adaptation of James Jones' massive novel "From Here to Eternity" (1953), which earned him an Oscar. Hamstrung by social mores, he toned down much of the original material yet still managed to create a powerful story, realized by director Fred Zinnemann. His subsequent film work was generally in adaptations, including "Desiree" (1954), about Napoleon and Josephine, "Picnic" (1955), from the William Inge play, and "Bell, Book and Candle" (1958), from John Van Druten's stage comedy.

In the mid-50s, Taradash and Jules Blaustein formed Phoenix Corporation. He also tried his hand at directing with the earnest but not very interesting "Storm Center" (1956), about a librarian fighting censorship. Taradash and Zinnemann had planned to make two films from James Michener's massive novel "Hawaii" but were unable to raise the financing. (When George Roy Hill did make the film in 1965, he utilized Taradash's script with emendations by Dalton Trumbo.) By the 70s, Taradash's efforts had slowed and his final two scripts were for the glossy soap operas "Doctors' Wives" (1971) and "The Other Side of Midnight" (1977).

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