Stanley Kramer

Stanley Kramer

Infobox Actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Stanley Kramer

imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = September 29, 1913
location = Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
deathdate = death date and age|2001|2|19|1913|9|29
deathplace = Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
yearsactive = 1933 - 1979
birthname = Stanley Earl Kramer
spouse = Marilyn Erskine (1945-1945)
Anne P. Kramer (1950-1963)
Karen Sharpe (1966-2001)
academyawards = Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
1962 Lifetime Achievement
baftaawards = UN Award
1959 "On the Beach"
1968 "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"
goldenglobeawards = Special Award
1961 For Artistic Integrity
Best Director - Motion Picture
1961 "Judgment at Nuremberg"
awards = NYFCC Award for Best Director
1958 "The Defiant Ones"

Stanley Kramer (September 29, 1913 – February 19,2001) was an Academy Award-nominated American film director and producer responsible for some of Hollywood's most famous "message" movies. [ Film-maker Stanley Kramer dies] , a February 2001 BBC obituary] His work was recognized with The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1961.

Director Steven Spielberg once described him as "one of our great filmmakers, not just for the art and passion he put on screen, but for the impact he has made on the conscience of the world."

Early years

Kramer lived with his grandmother in the neighborhood of Manhattan known as Hell's Kitchen. From an early age, Kramer had connections with the film industry; his uncle, Earl Kramer, worked in distribution at Universal Pictures and then as an agent in Hollywood. Kramer's mother also worked in a secretarial position at Paramount Pictures. Kramer attended DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx and New York University; in his final year at the university, he was offered a paid internship in the writing department of 20th Century Fox. Kramer took the job although he had originally planned on attending law school.Fact|date=February 2007

In 1941 he worked as a production assistant on "The Moon and Sixpence" and "So Ends Our Night".imdb name | id=0006452 | name=Stanley Kramer] Two years later, in 1943, Kramer was drafted, but avoided going to war by working for an army film unit in New York. In 1948 Kramer organized an independent production company, Screen Plays Inc. His partners in the company were with the writer Herbie Baker, publicist George Glass and producer Carl Foreman, whom he had met previously during his time with the army film unit. It was during Kramer's career as a producer that he began to receive recognition for his talent.

While the first movie produced under his production company was a failure, "So This Is New York" (1948), directed by Richard Fleischer, the following film directed by Mark Robson, "Champion", starring Kirk Douglas, was a success. The film received six Academy Awards nominations: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Black and White, Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay. The film also won an Oscar for Best Film Editing. In the next three years, Kramer produced "Home of the Brave" (1949), which was another success for the budding producer. In 1950, he produced "The Men", which included Marlon Brando's screen debut. Also in that year, he produced "Cyrano de Bergerac", the first English language film version of Edmond Rostand's famous 1897 French play. It won star José Ferrer his only Oscar for Best Actor.

Columbia Pictures

A year later, Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia Pictures offered Kramer the chance to make movies under his studio. Kramer was given free rein over what films he chose to make, along with a budget that topped at 980,000 dollars.Fact|date=February 2007 While Kramer accepted the job, he spent the rest of the year finishing his last independent production, the film "High Noon", a Western drama directed by Fred Zinnemann. The movie was well received, winning four Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Original Song and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic of Comedy Picture, as well as three nominations for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay.

In October 1951, Kramer ended his partnership with Carl Foreman, who was asked to testify about his past involvement with the Communist Party. Kramer was still producing movies at Columbia, such as "Death of a Salesman" (1951), "The Sniper" (1952), "The Member of the Wedding" (1952), "The Juggler" (1953), "The Wild One" (1953) and "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T" (1953). While the movies were not considered successful, they are now found very interesting and are highly praised.Fact|date=February 2007

In 1953 the president of Columbia, Harry Cohn and Stanley Kramer agreed to terminate the five year contract Kramer had made to Columbia. However, for his last Columbia film, Kramer was determined to regain all of the investments Columbia had made in Kramer's previously unsuccessful films. The film, "The Caine Mutiny", was an adaptation of the book written by Herman Wouk and was directed by Edward Dmytryk. Kramer faced resistance from the U.S. Navy, which the film depicted, for presenting what they considered an unfair portrayal. Kramer was able to negotiate a deal with the Navy, attempting to make the film as accurate and fair as possible. The film's cast included multiple noted actors of the time, including Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray and José Ferrer. Cohn kept Kramer under tight limitations, such as a budget under two and half million dollars and a running time of two hours. The result was extremely successful. The eleven million dollars it generated made up for any of Kramer's lost profits previously.


After "The Caine Mutiny", Kramer left Columbia and resumed his independent production, but this time he occupied the role of the director. During this time, Kramer reestablished himself through "Not As a Stranger" (1955) and "The Pride and the Passion" (1957). Fortunately for Kramer, he was able to avoid the Hollywood blacklist, which had affected so many other members of the film industry. However, Kramer was well known for his liberal views and his desire to produce and direct controversial films.Fact|date=February 2007 He directed "The Defiant Ones" (1958), "On the Beach" (1959), "Inherit the Wind" (1960) and "Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961). All of the films were bold and dealt with uncomfortable and serious subjects.

In contrast to his previous films however, in 1963 Kramer produced and directed the multi-million dollar, all-star comedy "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". Four years later, in 1967, Kramer released "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". It is speculated that out of all of his films, this film was the one that Kramer was the most proud of.Fact|date=February 2007 The film starred Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in their final screen teaming, along with Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton. It was a huge hit, earning eight Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music and Best Picture, along with two Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. In the following years, Kramer directed films such as "Bless the Beasts and Children" (1971), "Oklahoma Crude" (1973) and "The Runner Stumbles" (1979).

In 1997 Kramer published his autobiography, entitled "". Stanley Kramer died on February 19, 2001 in Los Angeles after suffering from pneumonia.


As director

*"Not as a Stranger" (1955)
*"The Pride and the Passion" (1957)
*"The Defiant Ones" (1958)
*"On the Beach" (1959)
*"Inherit the Wind" (1960)
*"Judgment at Nuremberg" (1961)
*"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963)
*"Ship of Fools" (1965)
*"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967)
*"The Secret of Santa Vittoria" (1968)
*"R. P. M." (1970)
*"Bless the Beasts and Children" (1971)
*"Oklahoma Crude" (1973)
*"The Domino Principle" (1977)
*"The Runner Stumbles" (1979)

As producer

*"Champion" (1949)
*"Home of the Brave" (1949)
*"The Men" (1950)
*"Cyrano de Bergerac" (1950)
*"Death of a Salesman" (1951)
*"High Noon" (1952)
*"The Wild One" (1954)
*"The Caine Mutiny" (1954)
*"Pressure Point" (1962)


External links


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