Mann, Abby 1927-2008 (Abraham Goodman, Ben Goodman)

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Mann, Abby 1927-2008 (Abraham Goodman, Ben Goodman)

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born December 1, 1927, in Philadelphia, PA; died of heart failure, March 25, 2008, in Beverly Hills, CA. Film director and producer, television producer, playwright, and screenwriter. Mann won an Academy Award and a Writers Guild of America award nomination for one of his earliest screenplays, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), a controversial film about a disturbing series of war-crimes trials that took place after the defeat of Germany in World War II. Many screenplays and television movies would follow, earning the writer the most distinguished awards in his field along with a solid reputation for provocative social commentary based on rigorous research. Though critics did not always praise the artistic merits of Mann's films, few if any challenged the factual integrity of his plots. In fact, when his films addressed historical events, as they did in Nuremberg, he was likely to use historical film and newsreel clips to heighten the element of authenticity. Mann, whose birth-name was Abraham Goodman, often wrote about members of immigrant, religious, racial, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged minorities like himself, but despite the dark subject matter of much of his work, he also wrote to entertain. Many of his films (including Nuremberg) appeared first on live television in the early days of the genre, and Mann produced and directed several programs himself, including the series Medical Story. Mann won both an Emmy Award and a Writers Guild of America award for the 1973 television movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders, based on a true story of wrongful arrest and coerced confession, a movie which introduced television audiences to a police detective named Kojak, but Mann often returned to the big screen and the full-length feature film. He received an Academy Award nomination in 1965 for Ship of Fools, about a boat laden with refugees bound for Germany in the 1930s. Alternating between film and television, with occasional forays into musical theater, Mann continued to write into his seventies. On occasion he also worked under the name Ben Goodman. Later television movies included Murders among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story (1989), for which he received another Emmy Award, and Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story (2002).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2008, sec. 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2008, p. B9.

New York Times, March 28, 2008, p. C15; April 5, 2008, p. A2.

Times (London, England), March 29, 2008, p. 75.