Edward Chodorov, a Broadway playwright and the scenarist or producer of more than 50 motion pictures, died Sunday at his New York City home after a brief illness. He was 84.
A native of New York, Chodorov briefly attended Brown University. But according to “Act One,” the autobiography of his friend Moss Hart, Chodorov, Hart and their friend S.J. Perelman favored spending their time in the Automat, scheming about how to break into show business rather than studying.
When Hart broke into show business as a theatrical secretary, he managed to land Chodorov a job as stage manager for a 1922 production of “Abie’s Irish Rose” and then as stage manager for a touring company of “Is Zat So.”
He parlayed those experiences into a publicity job at Columbia Pictures and in 1931 satirized Hollywood with the stage farce “Wonder Boy.”
The movies that Chodorov wrote or produced included “The Story of Louis Pasteur,” for which Paul Muni won an Oscar; “The Hucksters,” starring Clark Gable, Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner and Sydney Greenstreet, and “Road House,” with Ida Lupino and Richard Widmark.
In 1935, he wrote and directed “Kind Lady,” a dramatization for the theater of a story by Hugh Walpole, which was made into two movies.
Three of his plays, “Those Endearing Young Charms,” “Decision” and “Common Ground,” played on Broadway during World War II.
Chodorov was blacklisted by the Hollywood studios in 1953 for failing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities after choreographer Jerome Robbins labeled him as a member of the Communist Party. That same year, “Oh, Men! Oh, Women!” Chodorov’s most successful play and a satire on psychoanalysis, opened on Broadway to critical and popular acclaim.
He later worked as a writer and director for Universal Pictures and the Theatre Guild.