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A to Z Challenge – F is for Foote

Posted by mcm0704 on April 6, 2013 |

As in Horton Foote, one of the most notable American playwrights who hailed from Texas. He was born in 1916 and died in 2009. I had the honor of meeting him at a several screenwriting seminars and film festivals in the Dallas area, and he was so kind to an aspiring screenwriter. I still treasure his autograph and the kind words he wrote on the title page of one of my screenplays.

Despite all of his success, Horton Foote was always a humble man and those who knew him considered him a gracious friend. In 1995, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, “The Young Man From Atlanta”, which was also nominated for Best Play in 1997 for the Goodman Theatre production on Broadway. In 2000, Foote was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist.

Two of his most notable screenplays are for the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird and the 1983 film Tender Mercies, both of which highlight his depth of characterizations.

What I didn’t know about Horton Foote is that he started out as an actor in the 1940s, but focused more on writing after getting better reviews for plays he had written than his performances. He started writing for television in the 50s, and his television play  The Trip to Bountiful premiered March 1, 1953 on NBC and was taken to Broadway later that year. The play was adapted for film in 1985.

 Throughout his years in television, Foote wrote for a number of shows that featured original dramas:    The Gulf Playhouse, The Philco Television Playhouse, The United States Steel Hour, Playwrights ’56, Studio One, Armchair Theatre and Playhouse 90.  His most notable work included adaptations of William Faulkners “Old Man” in 1959 and 1997; receiving Emmy nominations both years and winning for the 1997 drama.

Have you seen any of his work? Do you have a favorite? Mine are “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Tender Mercies”, and “A Trip to Bountiful”.

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