Tuesday, November 25, 2008
RIP John Michael Hayes, Gerald Schoenfeld
Hayes, 89, was a two-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter, for Peyton Place (1957) and more indelibly Rear Window (1954)--he added Grace Kelly's character to Cornell Woolrich's original short story. His four-film association with Alfred Hitchcock foundered over money and credit, but To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much endure from the director's golden period in part because of Hayes' deft scripting. Other credits included the stage-to-screen The Matchmaker (1958) and The Children's Hour (1961). His Peyton Place association made him a go-to guy for sex-splashed bestseller translations, so BUtterfield 8 (1960), The Carpetbaggers (1964, plus its Western prequel, 1966's Nevada Smith), and 1965's Where Love Has Gone also flowed from his pen.
Schoenfeld was said to be Broadway's most powerful person, and with a formidable battery of theaters (17 strong in New York) at his disposal it's hard to dispute that. (The theater named in his honor in 2005, the former Plymouth, is currently housing the revival of All My Sons.) Shows he backed included Amadeus, Dreamgirls, Cats, and Sunday in the Park with George. He was 84, and outlived his New York Times obituarist Mel Gussow.