Sturges, Preston

Sturges, Preston stûrˈjĭs [key], 1898–1959, American film director, screenwriter, and producer, b. Chicago as Edmond Preston Biden. Educated in the United States and Europe, he turned to playwriting during the 1920s, penning works that included the hit Broadway comedy Strictly Dishonorable (1929, film 1931). Sturges moved (1932) to Hollywood and began to turn out screenplays, both for dramas and sparkling comedies. He debuted as a director with the screwball comedy The Great McGinty (1940), which he also wrote, and for which he won the best original screenplay Oscar. Sturges satirized many sacred cows in the witty, unsentimental, and stylish movies he wrote and directed during the 1940s. Among them are Sullivan's Travels (1941), widely considered his masterpiece; The Lady Eve (1941); I Married a Witch (1942); The Palm Beach Story (1942); Hail the Conquering Hero (1944); and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944). After the successful Unfaithfully Yours (1948), his career faltered, and his subsequent films were few and undistinguished. After falling into relative obscurity, his romantic comedies were rediscovered in the 1970s, and he is now hailed as one of Hollywood's finest and most influential comic talents.

See his memoirs, ed. by his wife, Sandy Sturges (1990); biographies by J. Curtis (1982), D. Spoto (1990), and D. Jacobs (1992).

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