George Seaton (April 17, 1911 – July 28, 1979) was an American screenwriter, playwright, film director and producer, and theatre director.
Life and career
Born George Stenius in South Bend, Indiana, of Swedish descent, baptized as Roman Catholic, and grew up in a Detroit Jewish neighborhood and described himself as a "Shabas goy". So he went on to learn Hebrew in an Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva and was even bar mitzvahed. Seaton moved to Detroit after graduating from college to work as an actor on radio station WXYZ. John L. Barrett played The Lone Ranger on test broadcasts of the series in early January 1933, but when the program became part of the regular schedule Seaton was cast in the title role. In later years he claimed to have devised the cry "Hi-yo, Silver" because he couldn't whistle for his horse as the script required.
Seaton, along with fellow writer and friend Robert Pirosh, joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a contract writer in 1933. His first major screen credit was the Marx Brothers comedy A Day at the Races in 1937. In the early 1940s he joined 20th Century Fox, where he remained for the rest of the decade, writing scripts for Moon Over Miami, Coney Island, Charley's Aunt, The Song of Bernadette, and others before making his directorial debut with Diamond Horseshoe in 1945. From this point on he was credited as both screenwriter and director for most of his films, including The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Miracle on 34th Street, Apartment for Peggy, Chicken Every Sunday, The Big Lift, For Heaven's Sake, Little Boy Lost, The Country Girl, and The Proud and Profane.
But Not Goodbye, Seaton's 1944 Broadway debut as a playwright, closed after only 23 performances, although it later was adapted for the 1946 MGM film The Cockeyed Miracle by Karen DeWolf. In 1967 he returned to Broadway to direct the Norman Krasna play Love in E Flat, which was a critical and commercial flop. The musical Here's Love, adapted from his screenplay for Miracle on 34th Street by Meredith Willson, proved to be more successful.
Seaton won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice, for Miracle on 34th Street (which also earned him the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay) and The Country Girl, and was nominated for Oscars three additional times. He received The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1961. He directed 1970's blockbuster hit Airport, which earned 10 Oscar nominations, including one for Seaton's screenplay.
Seaton died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California in 1979.
- A Day at the Races (1937)
- The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940) (writer)
- Bedtime Story (1941) (writer only)
- The Song of Bernadette (1943)
- The Meanest Man in the World (1943)
- Junior Miss (1945)
- The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- Apartment for Peggy (1948)
- Chicken Every Sunday (1949)
- The Big Lift (1950)
- For Heaven's Sake (1950)
- Little Boy Lost (1953)
- The Country Girl (1954)
- The Proud and Profane (1956)
- Williamsburg: the Story of a Patriot (1957)
- Teacher's Pet (1958)
- The Pleasure of His Company (1961)
- The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
- The Hook (1963)
- 36 Hours (1964)
- What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968)
- Airport (1970)
- Showdown (1973)