Kramer, Stanley Earl

Kramer, Stanley Earl
▪ 2002

      American film producer and director (b. Sept. 29, 1913, New York, N.Y.—d. Feb. 19, 2001, Woodland Hills, Calif.), created unconventional, socially conscious works on a variety of issues not usually addressed in mainstream Hollywood fare, including racial prejudice (e.g., The Defiant Ones [1958]), nuclear annihilation (On the Beach [1959]), and war crimes (Judgment at Nuremberg [1961]), and in tackling such themes acquired a reputation as a maker of “message” pictures, a label he disliked. He also showed support for blacklisted writers by hiring those who could not secure work under their own names following the communist witch-hunts. His nearly three dozen films were nominated for some 80 Academy Awards and won 16, and three—High Noon (1952), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)—were placed on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 all-time best movies. Kramer graduated from high school at age 15 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from New York University in 1933. Soon thereafter, he moved to Hollywood and entered the film industry, working first in such capacities as researcher, editor, and writer, and during World War II service with the Army Signal Corps, he made training and orientation films. Following the war Kramer established an independent production company, and in 1948 its first motion picture, So This Is New York, was released. Kramer's first success, Champion, followed in 1949 and, in dealing with the ruthlessness of an ambitious prizefighter and the corruption in the fight profession, established the moral tone his best-known future films would reflect. It also sparked the career of Kirk Douglas. The next year he launched Marlon Brando's film career with The Men, which explored the challenges faced by disabled war veterans. Later notable films either produced or produced and directed by Kramer included Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Death of a Salesman (1951), The Member of the Wedding (1952), The Wild One (1954), The Caine Mutiny (1954), Inherit the Wind (1960), and Ship of Fools (1965). Kramer was honoured with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1962. Such later films as R.P.M. (1970), The Domino Principle (1977), and The Runner Stumbles (1979), Kramer's last, were not successful, and he retired from filmmaking in 1980.

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Universalium. 2010.

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