AXELROD, GEORGE (1922–2003), U.S. comedy writer, movie director, and producer. Axelrod, who was born in New York City, was the son of silent film actress Betty Carpenter. He started out writing scripts for radio and television. He wrote several successful plays – The Seven Year Itch (1953), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Once More, with Feeling (1958), Goodbye Charlie (1964) – and began his film career writing the adaptations for The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Bus Stop (1956). Associated with several films as co-writer and co-producer, including A Visit to a Small Planet (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Paris When It Sizzles (1964), and How to Murder Your Wife (1965), he also wrote the screenplays for Phffft\! (1954), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Lady Vanishes (1979), The Holcroft Covenant (1985), and The Fourth Protocol (1987). He wrote, directed, and produced Lord Love a Duck (1966) and The Secret Life of an American Wife (1968). For his work on Breakfast at Tiffany's, Axelrod won the Writer's Guild of America award for Best Written American Comedy and was nominated for an Academy Award for his screen adaptation. In 1971 he wrote the novel Where Am I Now When I Need Me? At the outset of his career as a playwright, Axelrod specialized in blending sex farce with social satire, though the film versions of his works had to be toned down to get past the censors. But he was very adept at writing for the screen and was at one point the highest-paid scriptwriter in Hollywood. The Manchurian Candidate is regarded as one of the best film dramas of all time, albeit, as Axelrod once commented, "It broke every rule. It's got dream sequences, flashbacks, narration out of nowhere … everything in the world you're told not to do." (Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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