Film Director, Writer, and Producer, and Academy Award Winner. He is best remembered for directing the films "A Letter to Three Wives" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950), that won him an Academy Award as Best Director and Best Writer/Screenplay in each. Born to Jewish German immigrants, he moved with his family at the age of four to New York City, New York where he graduated from Stuyvesant High School. He then attended Columbia University in New York City, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in 1928. He briefly worked as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in Berlin, Germany before entering the motion picture business in 1929. He worked for seventeen years as a screenwriter for Paramount Pictures and as a producer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) before getting a chance to direct at 20th Century-Fox. Over 6 years he made 11 films for Fox, reaching a peak in 1950 and 1951 when he won consecutive Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Writer/Screenplay for both "A Letter to Three Wives" and "All About Eve," the latter of which was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, winning 6, and also won the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement and the Writers Guild of America Best Written American Comedy. During his long film career which spanned over 40 years, he wrote 48 screenplays and produced more than twenty films including "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1941. In 1944 he produced "The Keys of the Kingdom," which starred Gregory Peck, and featured his then-wife, Rose Stradner, in a supporting role as a nun. In 1951 he moved to New York City, intending to write for the Broadway stage. Although this dream never materialized, he continued to make films for his own production company Figaro and as a director-for-hire. In 1953 he directed "Julius Caesar" for MGM, an adaptation of Shakespeare's play and it received widely favorable reviews. The film serves as the only record of actor Marlon Brando in a Shakespearean role as 'Mark Antony', for which he received an Oscar nomination. In 1958 he directed "The Quiet American," an adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel about the seed of American military involvement in what would become the Vietnam War. Under career pressure from the then-climate of anti-Communism and the Hollywood blacklist, he distorted the message of Greene's book, changing major parts of the story to appeal to a nationalistic audience, much to Greene's dislike. In 1961 he began filming "Cleopatra" for 20th Century Fox, taking over after the departure of Robert Mamoulian. It consumed two years of his life and ended up both derailing his career and causing extreme severe financial losses for the studio. In 1963 he won the Writers Guild of America's Laurel Award for Screen Writing Achievement. He directed a few more films, including "The Honey Pot" (1967), "There Was a Crooked Man..." (1970), and "Sleuth' (1972), his final directing effort for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Direction in 1973. In 1981 he was awarded an Honorary Life Member in the Directors Guild of America and in 1986 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award. He died of a heart attack at the age of 83, just 6 days shy of his 84th birthday. He was married 3 times, first to Elizabeth Young (1934 until 1937), then to Rose Stradner (1938 to 1958), and then to Rosemary Matthews (1962, married and divorced the same year). His older brother, Herman J. Mankiewicz, was a Hollywood screenwriter who co-wrote the screenplay "Citizen Kane" (1941) with Orson Welles, which won him an Academy Award.
Bio by: William Bjornstad