Irving Elman, Broadway Playwright, Dies at 96

Obituaries   Irving Elman, Broadway Playwright, Dies at 96
 
Irving Elman, a Broadway playwright and a writer and producer for movies and television, died Nov. 22 in La Jolla, CA, of cardiopulmonary arrest. He was 96.

Born in Patterson, NJ, Mr. Elman saw three of his plays staged on Broadway: The First Million in 1943, The Brass Ring in 1952 and Uncle Willie in 1957. The latter, a comedy set in the Bronx, written with Julie Berns, was the most successful, running 141 performances.

Brooks Atkinson, writing in the New York Times, was not admiring. "Irving Elman has a genius for cliches," he wrote. "His travelogue through life, The Brass Ring, which opened at the Lyceum last evening, is composed of odds and ends that have been cluttering the cupboards for years, and represents a triumph of hack work in playwriting."

Among Mr. Elman's other plays was Tevye's Daughters, an adaptation of Sholom Aleichem's stories that predated Fiddler on the Roof by a decade and a half.

During the 1940s, Mr. Elman turned to screenwriting, penning the scripts to eight films, including "Accomplice," "Strange Journey," "Backlash," "Jewels of Brandenberg," "The Crimson Key," "Roses Are Red," "13 Lead Soldiers" and "Challenge." He also wrote for television, beginning in the early days of live television. Among his credits were "Hallmark Hall of Fame," "Studio One," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Brothers Brannagan," "The Verdict Is Yours" and "The Eleventh Hour."

With his wife Tex, Mr. Elman was head writer of the daytime soaps "Search for Tomorrow" and "General Hospital." The couple were credited with creating the character Luke, of "Luke and Laura" fame, for "General Hospital," and thus forging a storyline that brought the soap back to prominence in the early 1980s. His production of the political drama "Slattery's People" was nominated for two Emmy nominations in 1966.

Irving Stanton Elman is survived by two sons; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife died in 2006.

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