Writer Budd Schulberg isn't around to see it, but Wednesday, on his 100th birthday, he landed a new Hollywood deal. Schulberg, who died at 95 in 2009, was the son of a Hollywood film producer who first made his mark with the bestselling, iconic Hollywood novel "What Makes Sammy Run?" and went on to win an Oscar for the script of 1954's "On the Waterfront."
Deadline reports that his widow, Betsy Schulberg, has signed with Gersh to represent his estate. According to agency co-head Bob Gersh, "He was an American treasure and a Hollywood legend, and we couldn't be more pleased at Gersh to work with his estate on future projects that will entertain and inform audiences for generations to come."
But Schulberg's legacy isn't quite that simple. He was a Hollywood insider who got fired from his studio job after Samuel Goldwyn decided the grasping producer Sammy Glick in "What Makes Sammy Run?" was a little too close for comfort. He visited Russia in 1934 and became a Communist, left the party in the 1940s, then became a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the "Red Scare," testifying against his former colleagues. "On the Waterfront," for which he won an Oscar, has been criticized as an apologia from director Elia Kazan for his own sympathetic testimony before the HUAC.
And then Schulberg took an unexpected turn; after the 1965 Watts riots, he helped to found the Watts Writers Workshop. "In a small way, I wanted to help," he said. "The only thing I knew was writing, so I decided to start a writers' workshop."
Schulberg was active as a writer of journalism, plays, screenplays and books for almost seven decades. In addition to "On the Waterfront," he penned the screenplay to another iconic film of the 1950s, "A Face in the Crowd."
Schulberg's books include the boxing novel "The Harder They Fall" (1947), which was made into a film starring Humphrey Bogart, "The Disenchanted" (1950), a fictionalized version of his attempt to collaborate with the ailing, alcoholic F. Scott Fitzgerald; the memoir "Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince" (1981).
Deadline reports that the Gersh agency "plans to steer several adaptations of his novels and reboots of his classic works."