Harry Kurnitz: American playwright, novelist, screenwriter (1908 - 1968) | Biography
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Harry Kurnitz
American playwright, novelist, screenwriter

Harry Kurnitz

Harry Kurnitz
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American playwright, novelist, screenwriter
Was Writer Screenwriter Journalist Novelist Playwright
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature
Gender male
Birth 5 January 1908, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Death 18 March 1968, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (aged 60 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Harry Kurnitz (January 5, 1908 – March 18, 1968) was an American playwright, novelist, and prolific screenwriter who wrote swashbucklers for Errol Flynn and comedies for Danny Kaye. He also wrote some mystery fiction under the name Marco Page.

Early years

Kurnitz grew up in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He entered journalism as a book and music reviewer for The Philadelphia Record in 1930. In his spare time he wrote fiction.

Writing career

A mystery story Kurnitz wrote in 1937, Fast Company, about skulduggery in the rare-book business, led him to Hollywood. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought the book, and Kurnitz wrote the screenplay. Kurnitz wrote more than forty movie scripts, among them Witness for the Prosecution, What Next, Corporal Hargrove?, and How to Steal a Million.

His first play was Reclining Figure, a 1954 comedy about painters and their patrons and the tricks of the dealers and collectors who prey on them. Later, Kurnitz wrote the hit comedy Once More, with Feeling!. Other plays included High Fidelity and The Girl Who Came to Supper, a musical he wrote with Noël Coward, who composed the music and lyrics.


On March 18, 1968, Kurnitz died of a heart attack. At the time of his death he was working on a detective story.

Selected filmography

  • How to Steal a Million (1966)
  • Goodbye Charlie (1964)
  • A Shot in the Dark (1964) (stage play)
  • Surprise Package (1960)
  • Once More, with Feeling! (1960)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
  • Pretty Baby (1950)
  • The Inspector General (1949)
  • A Kiss in the Dark (1949)
  • One Touch of Venus (1948)
  • Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
  • The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
  • Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
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