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
(a Bob Hope
vehicle), and another in 1958 for writing
Cary Grant and
Sophia Loren).
Shavelson also directed both movies.  Shavelson’s most famous effort with
contemporary cinemagoers is 1968’s
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

"He was part of a vanishing
breed of writers who came up in the pioneer days," said

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
, 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.




Tag Cloud

Horror Disney Channel ESPN Spring TV Food Network game show Superheroes Lucasfilm robots TruTV mockumentary comiccon Endgame 2016 X-Men Film Festival FX YouTube Premium MSNBC Amazon Prime Video Family cars Hallmark Christmas movies Columbia Pictures Awards spanish language Anna Paquin Peacock streaming blaxploitation Pop TV Mary Poppins Returns Character Guide DC streaming service slashers Tubi Drama Amazon Prime Freeform quibi natural history Mary poppins Apple TV Plus Showtime hist NYCC Watching Series Brie Larson Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Tomatazos VICE Nickelodeon USA Star Wars Academy Awards Cannes Lionsgate cartoon harry potter sag awards book Tumblr 21st Century Fox Baby Yoda ratings Disney WGN Adult Swim FX on Hulu what to watch IFC Turner transformers batman comics TNT Black History Month MCU GIFs composers finale Pride Month Action First Reviews Countdown San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Christmas movies binge Infographic Trailer halloween ABC Family YA witnail Paramount Network scary movies Elton John Starz latino politics Classic Film Marvel Oscars Disney streaming service Best and Worst TCA 2017 CMT Sony Pictures Marathons Mary Tyler Moore Rocky cancelled TV shows independent WarnerMedia Sci-Fi sports FOX Comic Book justice league Emmys franchise Summer cinemax Interview Emmy Nominations Music theme song Extras true crime dc The Arrangement cancelled TV series richard e. Grant Paramount spider-man doctor who El Rey LGBT Mystery toy story Film anime A24 IFC Films south america AMC facebook festivals PaleyFest The CW romance Winners Creative Arts Emmys movie New York Comic Con breaking bad President YouTube Red Country A&E Pet Sematary SXSW Nat Geo Spectrum Originals BBC America name the review thriller television Apple Avengers Comics on TV Writers Guild of America strong female leads Disney Plus discovery Dark Horse Comics cops Chernobyl Vudu History cats Rock crime drama TCA boxoffice Esquire romantic comedy rotten movies we love renewed TV shows psycho Schedule Rocketman APB Rom-Com sitcom DC Universe Arrowverse 2017 elevated horror Shondaland Quiz serial killer Set visit spinoff ITV First Look documentary RT21 Masterpiece Sundance TV Marvel Studios indie Logo medical drama DC Comics supernatural SDCC Cartoon Network screenings dogs sequel Pirates aliens CBS dramedy Reality Competition Star Trek universal monsters casting Ghostbusters Comedy social media Video Games Valentine's Day American Society of Cinematographers Travel Channel space Sundance Now 45 jamie lee curtis Mudbound canceled children's TV Nominations Television Academy BBC Awards Tour Red Carpet Shudder Trivia Biopics Pixar game of thrones Winter TV DirecTV Black Mirror technology 20th Century Fox crossover Cosplay Tarantino nature Comedy Central Fantasy Musicals Christmas Disney+ Disney Plus TLC kids Netflix Christmas movies Superheroe Binge Guide foreign cooking directors LGBTQ screen actors guild The Witch VH1 MTV Kids & Family Hallmark Crunchyroll talk show HBO Max versus joker Podcast war Spike Musical stand-up comedy Fall TV 71st Emmy Awards Epix TBS Grammys adaptation diversity Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Thanksgiving Sundance TV renewals political drama Election animated dragons Captain marvel canceled TV shows green book GoT hispanic tv talk Animation Hulu video Lifetime Heroines Sneak Peek YouTube unscripted blockbuster E3 cancelled 2019 cults adventure biography Amazon Year in Review NBC Ovation golden globes award winner Trophy Talk Funimation Teen christmas movies Apple TV+ Turner Classic Movies TCM zombies Acorn TV Amazon Studios 2020 E! Certified Fresh Photos movies zero dark thirty Toys Song of Ice and Fire miniseries Pop Discovery Channel FXX TV Land Britbox ghosts Martial Arts teaser spy thriller spain TV CBS All Access Warner Bros. Box Office Premiere Dates BET disaster Stephen King based on movie TIFF singing competition dceu ABC period drama Ellie Kemper vampires comic 2015 007 Opinion police drama Western CNN Universal zombie See It Skip It USA Network Calendar Holidays TCA Winter 2020 Women's History Month revenge Marvel Television The Walking Dead Syfy docudrama OWN Fox News Holiday science fiction OneApp Crackle National Geographic travel 24 frames crime SundanceTV anthology werewolf Bravo reviews DGA series HBO Polls and Games Mindy Kaling crime thriller mutant psychological thriller Reality Super Bowl The Purge GLAAD reboot RT History 2018 Netflix Walt Disney Pictures historical drama CW Seed cancelled television free movies PBS