Horton Foote

Playwright / Screenwriter

Born: 14 March 1916
Died: 4 March 2009
Birthplace: Wharton, Texas
Best known as: Oscar-winning screenwriter of To Kill A Mockingbird
Horton Foote won two screenwriting Oscars, one for the film version of Harper Lee's novel To Kill A Mockingbird (1961, starring Gregory Peck) and one for Tender Mercies (1983, starring Robert Duvall). Born and raised in the small Texas town of Wharton, Foote set out for California after high school to make his mark as an actor. By the 1940s he was in New York and found he was more suited to writing plays, which in turn led to a career writing screenplays for movies and, later, television. During his long and celebrated career he specialized in the quiet dramas of rural Americans, setting most of his work in the fictional town of Harris, Texas. He earned a third Oscar nomination for adapting his play The Trip to Bountiful (1985), and he also did critically-acclaimed screen adaptations of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (the 1992 film version that starred John Malkovich and Gary Sinise) and William Faulkner's Old Man (a 1997 TV movie that won Foote an Emmy). His play The Young Man From Atlanta earned him a Pulitzer prize for drama in 1995, and in 2000 he was given a National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton.

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