Farrell, Henry 1920-2006
Farrell, Henry 1920-2006
(Charles Henry, Charles Henry Myers)
Born September 27, 1920, in Madera, CA; died May 29, 2006, in Pacific Palisades, CA; married Molly Dodd (an actress; died, 1981).
Writer, novelist, and screenwriter. Military service: U.S. Army Air Forces; served during World War II.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (novel; also see below), Rinehart (New York, NY), 1960.
Death on the Sixth Day (novel), Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1961.
How Awful about Allan (novel), Holt, Rinehart & Winston (New York, NY), 1963.
(Coauthor) Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte (screenplay; based on a short story by Farrell), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1964.
Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me (novel), Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1967.
(As Charles Henry) The Hostage (novel), 1969.
What's the Matter with Helen? (screenplay), 1971.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (musical; based on Farrell's novel of the same title), produced in Houston, TX, 2002.
Also author of screenplays for television, including episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents,1955; The House That Would Not Die, 1970; and The Eyes of Charles Sand, 1972; author of unpublished novel A Piece for Clarisse.
The novels Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, and The Hostage were adapted to film.
Born Charles Henry Myers, Henry Farrell was an American writer whose novels and screenplays are credited with setting the standard for the Grand Guignol style of horror movies, which feature celebrated female movie stars past their prime. Farrell first gained notoriety when his novel WhatEver Happened to Baby Jane? was adapted as a macabre horror movie starring the aging movie stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. The novel and film focus on two sisters who were once entertainment stars but who end up living forgotten and alone together. The story revolves around the descent into madness of one of them as she torments the other. A film sequel of sorts titled Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte was based on a short story by Farrell who also cowrote the screenplay for the film. Here, a demented old woman (once again played by Bette Davis) is believed to have murdered her lover years ago with an axe. A cousin arrives to help Charlotte battle bureaucrats who want to run a road through the family plantation, but she may also be planning to have Charlotte committed so she can inherit the land. As the author of the screenplay for What's the Matter with Helen?, Farrell once again presents two older woman who may be descending into madness. This time the troubles stem from their two sons, who have been convicted of a horrible murder. The mothers decide to move from the Midwest to Hollywood to escape the local notoriety due to their children's misdeeds. They set up a dance studio for children, but soon people begin to be murdered.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New York Times, March 4, 1965, Bosley Crowther, review ofHush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte; July 1, 1971, Vincent Canby review of What's the Matter with Helen?
All Movie Guide,http://allmovie.com/ (July 10, 2006), information on Farrell's work in films.
Alternative Film Guide,http://www.altfg.com/ (July 10, 2006), profile of Farrell.
International Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (July 10, 2006), information on Farrell's work in films.
Guardian (London, England), April 15, 2006.
Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2006, p. B8.
New York Times, April 4, 2006, p. A21.