Writer-Director Mel Shavelson Passes Away at 90

Shavelson also served as three-time WGA president.

by | August 9, 2007 | Comments

Melville Shavelson,
the prolific writer/director of the 1950s and 1960s and frequent president of the
Writers Guild of America West, died of natural causes on Wednesday at the age of
90 in his Southern California home.

Like Billy Wilder,
Shavelson was
one of the rare directors of the studio system era who personally scripted a majority of his films.  The Academy awarded Shavelson with an Oscar nomination for
scripting 1955’s
The Seven Little
(a Bob Hope
vehicle), and another in 1958 for writing
Cary Grant and
Sophia Loren).
Shavelson also directed both movies.  Shavelson’s most famous effort with
contemporary cinemagoers is 1968’s
Mine, and Ours
, which was remade in 2005.

He oversaw WGA West as
president on three occasions (1969-71, 1979-1981, 1985-1987), which bestowed him
numerous WGA  awards: the Morgan Cox Award in 1998, the Laurel Award for
screenwriting in 1984, and five WGA Award nominations throughout his five-decade

"He was part of a vanishing
breed of writers who came up in the pioneer days," said

magnate Larry Gelbart.
"There was never an occasion that came up where he didn’t have four or five
pages (of comedy material) prepared. He was always up for anything — any
assignment, anything to do with the guild. He was not so much a ‘can-do’ guy as
a ‘can-and-did’ guy."

Shavelson was also known for
his minor spats with actors he directed.  He recounted in an essay that
Kirk Douglas, who
starred in 1966’s
Cast a Giant
, wrote a memo to Shavelson that read: "Mel, I think it was a good
picture. It could have been better if I had paid more attention to you."

And Lucille Ball
whom Shavelson directed in Yours, Mine, and Ours, about two parents
raising 18 children — inquired how he liked directing her.  His reply: "Lucy,
this is the first time I ever made a film with 19 children."

In recent years, Shavelson
turned to cinematic philanthropy, establishing a film scholarship at his alma
mater of Cornel University, and contributing funds to the Shavelson-Webb Writers
Guild Foundation Library.  On his 90th birthday, April 1, Shavelson
published his autobiography, How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Really
Trying, P.S. — You Can’t!
  He wrote five other books in his lifetime, two
fiction and three nonfiction.

Shavelson is survived by his
wife, son, daughter, and three grandchildren.




Tag Cloud

Warner Bros. cartoon documentary emmy awards TLC Teen CNN VH1 A&E DC Universe cats Tubi CBS All Access a nightmare on elm street cooking nbcuniversal MTV adaptation Family Elton John die hard Action blockbuster 2018 supernatural chucky zero dark thirty Pop LGBTQ sports Red Carpet golden globes Holiday rotten movies we love renewed TV shows Binge Guide First Reviews news The Walking Dead Disney Channel NYCC TIFF NBC 72 Emmy Awards Pixar binge Cartoon Network cinemax The CW cops Rom-Com book Esquire Hallmark E! Pop TV diversity See It Skip It transformers Showtime HBO Oscars Nat Geo anime miniseries Biopics boxoffice Photos 4/20 Film dragons Christmas Election biography game show TruTV finale Fall TV Western Pride Month historical drama thriller technology foreign The Arrangement mission: impossible singing competition video on demand Schedule Awards Tour psychological thriller PaleyFest American Society of Cinematographers DC streaming service latino OneApp christmas movies Marvel Studios Mystery TCM CBS Walt Disney Pictures indie Black Mirror Spike Reality Competition New York Comic Con Music DC Comics Cosplay reboot El Rey comic USA Funimation TV science fiction Thanksgiving parents dceu canceled TV shows Trivia breaking bad The Purge Paramount Shondaland Sundance Now Universal Disney Plus Character Guide HBO Max Women's History Month stand-up comedy Superheroes First Look VICE Box Office 2020 History natural history Apple TV Plus satire Fox News PBS TV Land hollywood based on movie Interview BBC toy story Certified Fresh FX Disney free movies Martial Arts DGA Pirates Kids & Family true crime FOX 71st Emmy Awards TCA political drama Superheroe Disney streaming service X-Men Lionsgate festivals Countdown mutant Black History Month best IFC Films Bravo robots criterion Comics on TV nature Food Network The Witch Anna Paquin Song of Ice and Fire Turner Classic Movies sag awards batman what to watch HBO Go Starz harry potter reviews spinoff Dark Horse Comics Podcast south america revenge name the review Pet Sematary Star Wars Lucasfilm Fantasy CMT superhero 2019 BAFTA Quiz Disney+ Disney Plus Apple TV+ Creative Arts Emmys TCA Winter 2020 GLAAD sequel Hear Us Out Vudu Set visit SDCC Spectrum Originals Premiere Dates documentaries jamie lee curtis Winter TV 2015 Paramount Network Marvel period drama Comedy Central Columbia Pictures animated National Geographic slashers Watching Series Star Trek series zombie social media worst cancelled TNT cults Mary Tyler Moore serial killer Mary poppins Brie Larson Epix Amazon Prime TCA Awards politics anthology children's TV Amazon Prime Video Emmys BBC One blaxploitation Endgame aliens video Valentine's Day Tumblr Nominations YouTube President Awards canceled Marathons justice league USA Network Amazon composers richard e. Grant Spring TV dc WarnerMedia MCU Captain marvel Peacock PlayStation adventure movie Classic Film Marvel Television SXSW cancelled TV shows MSNBC Amazon Studios Sony Pictures joker police drama rotten docudrama films screenings crime Turner DirecTV spy thriller Tarantino comics indiana jones BET Awards Sundance WGN dramedy Sneak Peek CW Seed Sundance TV YA Horror facebook Stephen King stoner Drama psycho Travel Channel disaster dogs BET LGBT Heroines Ellie Kemper ABC Family theme song concert franchise crime drama APB hispanic 007 romance Video Games Arrowverse spider-man Country Crackle Grammys 21st Century Fox FXX award winner OWN Ovation TV renewals movies E3 Syfy critics Shudder TCA 2017 classics independent universal monsters RT21 Acorn TV directors Comic Book Britbox spanish language Toys Infographic Hallmark Christmas movies ESPN Rock comiccon all-time hist BBC America Baby Yoda YouTube Premium talk show RT History Polls and Games Cannes crossover Comedy Musical GoT twilight ITV Writers Guild of America Sci-Fi game of thrones 45 fast and furious Television Academy screen actors guild comedies 2017 Masterpiece medical drama Trailer zombies Chernobyl ghosts mockumentary Crunchyroll kids Discovery Channel Opinion witnail Winners Television Critics Association child's play Musicals Calendar laika FX on Hulu strong female leads Avengers cancelled television asian-american Mudbound TBS green book Academy Awards space SundanceTV Netflix Christmas movies Best and Worst Adult Swim A24 Film Festival cars discovery Lifetime cancelled TV series IFC Extras halloween stop motion Trophy Talk Mindy Kaling war Freeform Logo television tv talk Mary Poppins Returns YouTube Red Tomatazos Apple doctor who Rocky scary movies VOD elevated horror unscripted 2016 versus Ghostbusters Animation romantic comedy Holidays San Diego Comic-Con 24 frames ratings sitcom Emmy Nominations crime thriller Super Bowl casting Rocketman Hulu Nickelodeon AMC Year in Review travel vampires Reality werewolf dark streaming GIFs obituary teaser Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spain Lifetime Christmas movies ABC Netflix 20th Century Fox Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Summer quibi