Budd Schulberg Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Budd Wilson Schulberg (SHOOL-burg), a prominent novelist and screenwriter, also achieved major success in a variety of other genres. He was born in 1914 to an important Hollywood producer, Benjamin Percival (“B. P.”) Schulberg, head of production at Paramount Studios (1925-1932), and Adeline (Jaffe) Schulberg, later one of Hollywood’s leading agents.

Budd Schulberg moved with his parents and sister, Sonya, to Los Angeles in 1922, where Budd grew up amid the fledgling motion picture industry. During the summer of 1934, while a Dartmouth College student, he traveled to the Soviet Union with about fifty other students to study Communism at an institute for American students. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1936, he returned to Los Angeles, began writing for the movies, married Virginia “Jigee” Ray, and joined the Communist Party. He worked on the films A Star Is Born (1937) and Nothing Sacred (1937) without receiving screen credits. The first film for which he received a credit was Little Orphan Annie. At the same time, he was writing short stories for such magazines as Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, and Liberty, including several stories about a ruthless Hollywood climber named Sammy Glick that would lead to his first novel, What Makes Sammy Run?, published in 1941. By the end of the 1930’s, he had broken with the Communist Party over its attempt to control his writing for its political purposes.

One of the most famous events of Schulberg’s life occurred in January, 1939, when he was teamed with the great American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald to write the screenplay for Winter Carnival. Part of the movie was to be filmed at Schulberg’s alma...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Beck, Nicholas. Budd Schulberg: A Bio-Bibliography. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001. Beck examines Schulberg’s life and work; he also includes exhaustive bibliographies of the author’s writings by genre and of reviews of his work.

Breit, Harvey. The Writer Observed. New York: World, 1956. The future collaborator with Schulberg on the stage production of The Disenchanted includes an interview with him.

Kazan, Elia. A Life. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988. Kazan discusses his friendship and working relationship with Schulberg.