Study Guide

The Sound of Music Screenwriter

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Ernest Lehman

Proud owner of six Oscar nominations (no wins, though), screenwriter Ernest Lehman worked with some of Hollywood's most famous directors. He specialized in adapting Broadway plays and musicals for the silver screen, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The King and I, Hello, Dolly! and West Side Story. He was most famous for the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest, which was actually his only original screenplays (source). With West Side Story, he paired up with director Robert Wise, whom he'd work with again in The Sound of Music.

Lehman did it all. A successful magazine writer and novelist, he took a spin in the producer's chair for Portnoy's Complaint (which he also directed) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? That's some seriously impressive output.

The Academy agreed.

In 2001, Lehman received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first screenwriter to get that accolade. Oh, and guess who presented it?

Julie Andrews (source).

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