Roman, Lawrence 1921–
ROMAN, Lawrence 1921–
PERSONAL: Born May 30, 1921, in Jersey City, NJ; son of Irving (a grocer) and Bessie Dora (Roud) Roman; married Evelyn Mildred Zirkin, April 29, 1946; children: Steven, Catherine. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1943.
ADDRESSES: Home—4097 Sapphire Dr., Encino, CA 91436.
CAREER: Playwright and screen writer.
MEMBER: Writers Guild, Dramatists Guild, Producers Guild.
AWARDS, HONORS: Peabody Award, for The Ernest Green Story.
Under the Yum-Yum Tree (produced on Broadway, 1960; also see below), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1961.
P.S. I Love You, produced on Broadway, 1965.
Buying Out, produced in Buffalo, NY, 1970.
Crystal, Crystal Chandelier, produced in Stockbridge, MA, 1972.
Alone Together, (produced on Broadway, 1984), Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1983.
Also author of If! If! If!, 1979; Grapes and Raisins (also known as Moving Mountains); To Tell the Truth; Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, first produced in Berlin, Germany; A Hearty Welcome, produced in Bonn, Germany; and Make Me a Match, produced in Hamburg, Germany and Canada.
SCREENPLAYS, EXCEPT AS INDICATED
Vice Squad, United Artists, 1953.
(With John K. Butler) Drums across the River, Universal, 1954.
(With others) Naked Alibi, Universal, 1954.
One Desire, Universal, 1955.
(With others) The Man from Bitter Ridge, Universal, 1955.
A Kiss before Dying, United Artists, 1956.
(With others) The Sharkfighters, United Artists, 1956.
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Universal, 1957.
(With John W. Cunningham) Day of the Bad Man, Universal, 1958.
Under the Yum-Yum Tree (adaptation of his play), Columbia Pictures, 1963.
The Swinger, Paramount Pictures, 1966.
Paper Lion (adaptation of the book by George Plimpton), United Artists, 1968.
(With others) Soleil Rouge, National General Pictures, 1971.
A Warm December, National General Pictures, 1973.
(And producer) McQ, Warner Brothers, 1974.
The Ernest Green Story (teleplay), Disney Channel, 1991.
Also author of screenplays The Mayflower Number, Abracadabra, Skeletons, Lovers Three, Three Wishes for Jamie, and Final Verdict. Author of teleplays, including Omar Bradley: A Soldier's Story, 1981; Anatomy of an Illness (based on the book by Norman Cousins), 1982; and Badge of the Assassin (based on the book by Robert Tanenbaum.
SIDELIGHTS: Lawrence Roman has had a long and prestigious career in theater and films. His plays have been produced in the United States and Europe, and he adapted his Broadway hit Under the Yum-Yum Tree into a film starring Jack Lemmon. John Wayne starred in Roman's original screenplay McQ, and Sidney Poitier had the lead in 1973's A Warm December. Roman also adapted George Plimpton's Paper Lion for the screen.
Roman wrote the script for the television movie adaptation of Anatomy of an Illness, the autobiography of Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins. In the film, Cousins (played by Ed Asner) suffers from a crippling illness that does not respond to treatment, and he embarks on his own holistic regime that includes high doses of vitamin C and a diet of fresh vegetables prepared by his wife (Millie Perkins). His doctor (Eli Wallach) goes along with his wishes, believing that it cannot hurt, and the story ends with Cousins returning to work, healthy and happy.
Alone Together, Roman's 1980s Broadway production, starred Janis Paige and Kevin McCarthy as parents whose adult sons have returned to the nest just as they are about to enjoy life after thirty years of raising children. Among Roman's more recent efforts is his screenplay The Ernest Green Story, which aired on the Disney Channel. It is set in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the turbulent period following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, when nine black high school students transferred to that city's all-white Central High School. Ernest Green (Morris Chestnut), the first black student to graduate from Central, is the focus of the film, which also stars Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Avery Brooks. Rod Granger wrote in Multichannel News that The Ernest Green Story "is a compelling look at the atmosphere of hate surrounding those students and the bravery they evidenced to right a historical wrong."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Chicago Sun-Times, September 12, 1985, Lynn Voedisch, review of Alone Together, p. 70.
Multichannel News, December 21, 1992, Rod Granger, review of The Ernest Green Story, p. 9.
New York Times, May 15, 1984, John J. O'Connor, review of Anatomy of an Illness; October 22, 1984, Frank Rich, review of Alone Together.