Stanley Kramer Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from pneumonia)
Birth NameStanley Earl Abramson

Mini Bio (1)

Stanley Kramer was born on September 29, 1913 in Hell's Kitchen [now Clinton], Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Stanley Earl Abramson. He was a producer and director, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and Inherit the Wind (1960). He was married to Karen Sharpe, Anne P. Kramer and Marilyn Erskine. He died on February 19, 2001 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (3)

Karen Sharpe (1 September 1966 - 19 February 2001) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Anne P. Kramer (3 June 1950 - 10 July 1964) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Marilyn Erskine (15 September 1945 - 9 October 1945) ( annulled)

Trivia (16)

Has a street in Berwick, Australia where part of On the Beach (1959) was filmed, named in his honour - Kramer Drive.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 538-544. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
Directed 14 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Cara Williams, Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Oskar Werner, Michael Dunn, Simone Signoret, Katharine Hepburn, Cecil Kellaway and Beah Richards. Hepburn and Schell won Oscars for their performances in one of Kramer's movies.
After graduating from New York University in 1933, majoring in writing, Kramer accepted an internship in Hollywood as a production assistant. He worked as a set p.a. at several studios from 1933 onward and eventually worked at Universal in the early 1940s as part of the swing gang in the art department.
Was to name his child after Spencer Tracy, but when the baby turned out to be a girl, he named her after Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn was also her godmother.
After his retirement in 1980, he moved to Seattle, where he wrote a column for the Seattle Times and taught at the University of Washington and Bellevue Community College.
After graduating De Witt Clinton High School, he attended New York University, graduating with a degree in business administration. His articles for a university publication won him a contract as junior writer at 20th Century Fox, earning $70 a week. For the next fourteen years, he worked as a scriptwriter/researcher at Fox, Republic and Columbia; as set dresser, researcher and editor at MGM and as associate producer for Loew-Lewin. Formed his own production company in 1947, in conjunction with Carl Foreman and George Glass. Under contract as director at United Artists (1955-63) and Columbia (1965-67; 1970-73). Had a reputation for being frugal, working well within his budgetary limitations. Many of his films reflected social or political concerns and were often controversial. He was consequently -- and to his chagrin -- tagged as a "message film maker" and "Hollywood's Conscience".
His mother worked as a secretary for Paramount. One of his uncles worked in distribution for Universal.
Served in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, making training films. He finished the war with the rank of first lieutenant.
His films Home of the Brave (1949) and Champion (1949) were the only two major box office hits United Artists had in 1949.
NYU, Kramer's alma mater, awarded him its prestigious Gallatin Medal in 1968. The award honors persons whose accomplishments are of "lasting significance to society." Three of its previous eleven recipients were Dr. Jonas Salk, Ralph Bunche, and C. Douglas Dillon.
He died of complications from pneumonia at the Motion Picture Home, in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.
An avid Yankee fan, he could name players on every team over the decades. In fact, he named his first daughter, actress Casey Kramer, after player/manager, Casey Stengel.
Produced six Best Picture Oscar nominees: High Noon (1952), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Defiant Ones (1958), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Ship of Fools (1965) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).
He has produced three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: High Noon (1952), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). He has also directed two films that are in the registry: Judgment at Nuremberg and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Personal Quotes (13)

I'm always pursuing the next dream, hunting for the next truth.
[on Humphrey Bogart] He was playing Bogart all the time, but he was really just a big sloppy bowl of mush.
[on Lee Marvin] I'm not his psychiatrist. I don't know whether he has one or needs one. I'm only saying that to understand him, one needs help.
If I am to be remembered for anything I have done in this profession, I would like it to be for the four films in which I directed Spencer Tracy.
[on Katharine Hepburn] The most completely thorough, driving, constantly seeking actress with whom I'm been associated. She's never really satisfied; she never stops thinking about what she's doing and about what everybody else is doing. She is a marvelous woman who has a capacity for many emotional areas and she has great talent. She can trigger an emotional truth at precisely the right time. I don't know what she draws on; it's a deep, deep well.
[on Ava Gardner] She can read a script and immediately give you a completely lucid explanation of its merits and faults.
[on Sidney Poitier] Sidney has a greatness and professionalism and a deep, deep sensitivity. He's an absolutely beautiful man inside and out.
[on working with Montgomery Clift during the filming of Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)]. He was a total wreck at this point. He kept stumbling and forgetting his lines during take after take. Finally I said to him: "Just forget the damn lines, Monty. Let's say you're on the witness stand. The prosecutor says something to you, then the defence attorney bitterly attacks you... and you have to reach for a word in the script. That's all right. Go ahead and reach for it. Whatever the word may be, it doesn't really matter. Just turn to [Spencer] Tracy on the bench whenever you feel the need, and ad lib something. It will be all right because it will convey the confusion in your character's mind." He seemed to calm down after this. He wasn't always close to the script, but whatever he said fitted in perfectly, and he came through with as good a performance as I had hoped.
(On Roosevelt's New Deal) That all probably as profound an influence on me as any event on which I can base the things I believe in; my attitudes regarding the blacks; the freedom of teachers; world guilt and sectarian prejudice. I never became any kind of evangelist because of those beliefs, but I tried to translate the drama of them into film.
[on some of the directors who emerged in the 60's (1968)] The put-on leads to the adoration of technique. The nouvelle vague, the neo-realists and the angry young men have opened the gates to interrupted dialogue, mismatching, jump cuts, super-imposures, split screens and the camera as primary weapon in the director's bag. Technique covers a multitude of sins.
[in 1949] I firmly believe that the independent producer today can select material which will return vitality to the motion picture industry. I think people are completely fed up with the pattern. The independent has simply got to destroy that pattern. If our industry is to flourish, we must break away from formula thinking.
[on studio chiefs and backers who wanted him to soften his message (1960 interview)] I take a very reluctant and conservative view on what a single film can do in affecting our lives. I don't make films to stir the world. I am not conscious of a responsibility to society or even to my own social consciousness when I make a film. My motivation can be as simple as saying, gee, this would make an exciting picture.
During the filming of Mad World with all the comedians, I think Spencer Tracy was in poorer health than I (believed): he had bad colour and no stamina whatever. But then, even though this lack of energy showed, I think he had his best time ever during the making of a film. The comedians worshipped him. Never before or since has a king had a court full of jesters who strove only to entertain him so that his majesty might say, 'That was funny,' or just laugh and smile. Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney - even the silent Sid Caesar - crowded about him and vied for his affection. They had it. And he talked about them to the very last; he loved them all.

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