39 Facts About Preston Sturges


Preston Sturges was an American playwright, screenwriter, and film director.


Preston Sturges sold the story for The Great McGinty to Paramount Pictures for $10 in exchange for directing it.


Preston Sturges went on to receive Oscar nominations for The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Hail the Conquering Hero.


Preston Sturges was wrote and directed The Lady Eve, Sullivan's Travels and The Palm Beach Story, each considered classic comedies, appearing on the American Film Institute's 100 Years.


When Sturges was two years old, his eccentric mother left America to pursue a singing career in Paris, where she annulled her marriage with Preston's father.


Preston Sturges spent eight years there, until he married the first of his four wives, Estelle De Wolfe.


Outraged, Preston Sturges told her that if she could write a play, he could write a play, but that his would be better and run longer.


In 1928, Preston Sturges performed on Broadway in Hotbed, a short-lived play by Paul Osborn, and Preston Sturges's first produced play, The Guinea Pig, opened in Massachusetts.


The play was a success and Preston Sturges moved it to Broadway the following year, a turning point in his career.


Three other Preston Sturges stage plays were produced from 1930 to 1932, one of them a musical, but none of them were hits.


Preston Sturges sold his original screenplay for The Power and the Glory to Fox, where it was filmed as a vehicle for Spencer Tracy.


Preston Sturges accomplished this goal in 1939 by trading his screenplay for The Great McGinty to Paramount in exchange for the chance to direct it.


Paramount promoted the unusual deal as part of the film's publicity, saying that Preston Sturges had received just ten dollars.


Preston Sturges won the first-ever Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay for The Great McGinty, at which time he was one of the highest paid men in Hollywood.


Preston Sturges received two screenwriting Academy Award nominations in the same year, for 1944's Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, a feat since matched by Frank Butler, Francis Ford Coppola, and Oliver Stone.


Preston Sturges is essentially a satirist without any stable point of view from which to aim his satire.


Preston Sturges is apt to turn his back on what he has been sniping at to demolish what he has just been defending.


Preston Sturges is contemptuous of everybody except the opportunist and the unscrupulous little woman who, at some point in every picture, labels the hero a poor sap.


In particular, executive producer Buddy DeSylva never really trusted his star writer-director and was wary of the independence Preston Sturges enjoyed on his projects.


One of the sources of conflict was that Preston Sturges liked to reuse many of the same character actors in his films, thus creating what amounted to a regular troupe he could call upon within the studio system.


Preston Sturges had filmed The Great Moment and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek in 1942 and Hail the Conquering Hero in 1943, but Paramount was suffering from a surfeit of films.


Preston Sturges managed to get The Miracle of Morgan's Creek released with only minor changes, but The Great Moment and Hail the Conquering Hero were taken out of his control and tinkered with by DeSylva.


Preston Sturges did some rewriting, shot some new scenes, and re-edited the film back to his original vision, all without pay.


Preston Sturges was unable to similarly rescue The Great Moment, however.


Preston Sturges was a temperamental talent who fully recognized his own worth.


Preston Sturges had invested in entrepreneurial projects, such as an engineering company, and The Players, a popular restaurant and nightclub at 8225 Sunset Boulevard, projects which were both net losses.


Millionaire Howard Hughes, who had formed a friendship with Preston Sturges, offered to bankroll him as an independent filmmaker.


That film, a Harold Lloyd vehicle entitled The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, for which Preston Sturges had coaxed the silent film icon out of retirement, went over budget and far behind schedule, and was poorly received when it was released.


At Hughes's behest, Preston Sturges had written the script as a vehicle for Hughes' protege, Faith Domergue.


Seven weeks later, Preston Sturges himself was fired or quit.


However, his second Fox film, The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, was the first serious flop in star Betty Grable's career, and Preston Sturges was again on his own.


Preston Sturges built a theater at his Players restaurant, but the project did not pan out.


Preston Sturges was having no better luck in Hollywood, where his clout was gone.


Katharine Hepburn, who had starred in the 1952 Broadway production of the George Bernard Shaw play, The Millionairess got Preston Sturges to agree to adapt the script and direct.


Preston Sturges began spending more time in Europe, as he had as a young man.


Two decades earlier, Preston Sturges had been a writer on one of Hope's earliest film successes, Never Say Die.


Preston Sturges took the screwball comedy format of the 1930s to another level, writing dialogue that, heard today, is often surprisingly naturalistic, mature, and ahead of its time, despite the farcical situations.


Preston Sturges died of a heart attack at the Algonquin Hotel while writing his autobiography, and was interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.


Preston Sturges has a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1601 Vine Street.