Writer-Director Mel Shavelson Passes Away at 90

Shavelson also served as three-time WGA president.

by | August 9, 2007 | Comments


Melville Shavelson,
the prolific writer/director of the 1950s and 1960s and frequent president of the
Writers Guild of America West, died of natural causes on Wednesday at the age of
90 in his Southern California home.

Like Billy Wilder,
Shavelson was
one of the rare directors of the studio system era who personally scripted a majority of his films.  The Academy awarded Shavelson with an Oscar nomination for
scripting 1955’s
The Seven Little
Foys
(a Bob Hope
vehicle), and another in 1958 for writing
Houseboat
(starring
Cary Grant and
Sophia Loren).
Shavelson also directed both movies.  Shavelson’s most famous effort with
contemporary cinemagoers is 1968’s
Yours,
Mine, and Ours
, which was remade in 2005.

He oversaw WGA West as
president on three occasions (1969-71, 1979-1981, 1985-1987), which bestowed him
numerous WGA  awards: the Morgan Cox Award in 1998, the Laurel Award for
screenwriting in 1984, and five WGA Award nominations throughout his five-decade
career. 

"He was part of a vanishing
breed of writers who came up in the pioneer days," said
M*A*S*H

magnate Larry Gelbart.
"There was never an occasion that came up where he didn’t have four or five
pages (of comedy material) prepared. He was always up for anything — any
assignment, anything to do with the guild. He was not so much a ‘can-do’ guy as
a ‘can-and-did’ guy."

Shavelson was also known for
his minor spats with actors he directed.  He recounted in an essay that
Kirk Douglas, who
starred in 1966’s
Cast a Giant
Shadow
, wrote a memo to Shavelson that read: "Mel, I think it was a good
picture. It could have been better if I had paid more attention to you."

And Lucille Ball
whom Shavelson directed in Yours, Mine, and Ours, about two parents
raising 18 children — inquired how he liked directing her.  His reply: "Lucy,
this is the first time I ever made a film with 19 children."

In recent years, Shavelson
turned to cinematic philanthropy, establishing a film scholarship at his alma
mater of Cornel University, and contributing funds to the Shavelson-Webb Writers
Guild Foundation Library.  On his 90th birthday, April 1, Shavelson
published his autobiography, How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Really
Trying, P.S. — You Can’t!
  He wrote five other books in his lifetime, two
fiction and three nonfiction.

Shavelson is survived by his
wife, son, daughter, and three grandchildren.

Source:

Variety
,

AP

Tag Cloud

RT History First Look SundanceTV Schedule IFC crime drama cats GIFs Biopics Kids & Family Awards based on movie E! TNT VICE Calendar Tumblr crime Pirates OWN USA Dark Horse Comics Certified Fresh Star Wars Disney Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Oscars YA cooking TCA Summer Adult Swim Polls and Games Red Carpet Star Trek Horror police drama historical drama Winners 2016 2015 sitcom war psycho GoT ABC Family Trivia Watching Series ESPN Podcast MSNBC Animation AMC technology Box Office Spring TV CMT Toys crime thriller ITV BET CBS Country Rocky 24 frames Writers Guild of America Musicals Martial Arts Fantasy comiccon cops DC Comics singing competition politics biography sports WGN Ellie Kemper Showtime FOX supernatural E3 Nickelodeon social media composers Reality Competition BBC President FX Nat Geo Disney Channel Music Year in Review HBO Lifetime TCA 2017 TV Land TruTV Emmys aliens serial killer Crackle Interview discovery Holidays Ghostbusters Election Mary Tyler Moore PaleyFest Comedy Central ABC Bravo Best and Worst Teen Pop Netflix Mystery vampires GLAAD MTV PBS Superheroes Character Guide Musical Nominations Fox News Extras adventure Cosplay science fiction Rock Food Network BBC America 007 Fall TV NYCC CNN TLC Esquire docudrama Freeform TIFF political drama TCM VH1 APB Mindy Kaling harry potter The Arrangement diversity Masterpiece transformers Infographic Sci-Fi Syfy TBS Sneak Peek Tomatazos Grammys thriller Video Games Sundance Hulu cinemax Countdown Amazon Logo Drama CBS All Access 2017 History Opinion Trailer Photos Premiere Dates Rom-Com Super Bowl Marvel TV Universal DirecTV period drama Winter TV dramedy Valentine's Day A&E zombie Reality El Rey Comedy FXX Starz Cartoon Network Marathons LGBTQ Set visit travel Thanksgiving Lionsgate American Society of Cinematographers boxoffice Action The CW SDCC Comic Book X-Men NBC