PADDY CHAYEFSKY Biography - Writers


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Sidney “Paddy” Chayefsky (January 29, 1923 - August 1, 1981) was an acclaimed dramatist who transitioned from the golden age of American live television in the 1950s to have a successful career as a playwright and screenwriter for Hollywood.


He was born in the Bronx, New York. He studied at the City College of New York and Fordham University and served in the army during World War II, during which he was awarded a Purple Heart.


He began writing for a living in the 1940s. His work on Marty, first as a live production for television in 1953 and then for film two years later, gave him his first major success. The film, starring Ernest Borgnine, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Chayefsky’s work on that and other teleplays inspired comparisons with Arthur Miller, and he received an Academy Award for his work on the screenplay. He focused on screenplays after the success with Marty, with films such as The Goddess (for which he received an Oscar nomination) and The Bachelor Party. In the 1960s his writing credits included The Americanization of Emily and Paint Your Wagon. He went on to win two more Oscars for his work on The Hospital (1971) and the film for which he best known, Network, for both of which he also received Golden Globe awards. His last screenplay was based on his novel Altered States, though on the film he was credited under his real first and middle name, Sidney Aaron, because of disputes with the director.


He is known for his comments during the 1977 Oscar telecast after Vanessa Redgrave, when she went to accept her award for Best Supporting Actress in Julia, made a controversial speech denouncing Zionism by the Israeli government. He made a comment during the program immediately after hers in which he stated that he was upset by her using the event to make an irrelevant political viewpoint during a film award program. He said, “I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation and a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed.”


Paddy Chayefsky died in New York City of cancer in 1981 and was interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York