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Norman Krasna Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (4)

Overview (2)

Born in Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)

Mini Bio (1)

Humorist, playwright and screenwriter Norman Krasna went to great lengths planning for a career in law. He attended New York University, Columbia University and St. John's University law school but then abruptly changed his plans and started work as a copy boy at a New York newspaper. He had a brief stint as a drama critic for the Evening Graphic and wrote a column for the Exhibitor's Herald World and this likely awakened his interest in the film business. He was soon off to L.A. and finagled a job in the Warner Brothers publicity department. Upon seeing his first filmed play, The Front Page (1931), he decided there and then to become a playwright. Having obtained a copy of the original script, he re-typed it over and over to get the hang of style and methodology. This approach seems to have worked since Krasna soon published his first play (the comedy "Louder,Please") which opened on Broadway by November 1931.

While not a huge hit, the play led first to a screenwriting contract with Columbia, then in 1935 with MGM. At MGM, Krasna met Groucho Marx and the two became lifelong friends (in 1948, they wrote a play together, "Time for Elizabeth", which had a brief run on Broadway). Within a relatively short period of time Krasna acquired a reputation for writing intelligent, witty scripts quickly. This ability naturally endeared him to thrifty-minded producers. He also had a penchant for clever one-liners (it would have been fun to sit in on conversational banter between Krasna and Groucho). Krasna did not only confine himself to screwball comedy but also occasionally turned out good original dramatic material such as Fritz Lang's indictment of mob justice, Fury (1936). He penned Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) for Alfred Hitchcock, wrote the perennial family favourite White Christmas (1954), and the glossy romantic comedy Indiscreet (1958) based on his own 1953 play "Kind Sir". For the most part, the accolades kept coming for his sophisticated comedies - often featuring mistaken identity (The Ambassador's Daughter (1956)), irascible, or curmudgeonly characters (Charles Coburn in The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) and Princess O'Rourke (1943)), or men-of-the-world cured of their cynicism through love (Cary Grant in 'Indiscreet'). Krasna won an Oscar for 'Princess O'Rourke', one of four films he also directed. While most of his plots are now somewhat dated, his dialogue rarely fails to entertain.

After leaving MGM in 1938, Krasna worked for the next twelve years as a free-lance writer dividing his time between Hollywood and Broadway. In 1950, he formed an independent production company with charismatic producer Jerry Wald at RKO. The enterprise was sadly short-lived. Just four films were produced out of a total of sixty originally stipulated. Krasna then went on to produce several films for various studios, including Clash by Night (1952), which featured a young Marilyn Monroe. He also wrote Marilyn's penultimate film Let's Make Love (1960). That same year, he was honoured with the Laurel Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Screen Writer's Guild. Krasna retired in 1964 and died twenty years later in Los Angeles, aged 74.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Erle Chenault Galbraith (7 December 1951 - 1 November 1984) ( his death) ( 3 children)
Ruth Frazee (6 August 1940 - 2 May 1951) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trivia (4)

Spouse Erle Chenault Galbraith was the widow of Al Jolson.
According to a biographer, he became an expert at writing the "wisecrack" movie. His scripts were full of cute, funny one-liners that summed up humorous situations.
Krasna had lost his hair at an early age, and was somewhat touchy about his baldness. When he met someone with a full head of hair, he often contemptuously referred to "that unsightly growth on your head".
Ex-brother-in-law of Jane Frazee.

See also

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