Shavelson, Melville 1917–2007

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Shavelson, Melville 1917–2007

(Mel Shavelson)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 1, 1917, in Brooklyn, NY; died August 8, 2007, in Studio City, CA. Film director, producer, educator, and writer. Shavelson began his career as a comedy writer for Bob Hope's radio show; the relationship lasted for decades as both progressed into film, television, and finally the printed word. The first film that Shavelson wrote and directed was, in fact, The Seven Little Foys (1954), starring Hope. He produced and wrote many other films, including Houseboat (1975), starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, and Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), starring John Wayne and Kirk Douglas. In all he was credited as a screenwriter for nearly twenty films over a period of thirty-five years. Shavelson served several terms as the president of the Writers Guild of America and taught writing classes at the University of Southern California from 1998 to 2006. He accumulated many awards for his work in film and television, including Academy Award nominations, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and several Emmy Awards, including one for creating the popular television series Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas. Shavelson was first and foremost a comedy writer, his critics observed, and when he began to write books, they were likely to be humorous as well. In 1990 he worked again with Hope to produce Don't Shoot, It's Only Me: Bob Hope's Comedy History of the United States. Shavelson reportedly enjoyed relating anecdotes about his many Hollywood encounters; in 2007, on his ninetieth birthday, he finally published his memoir, How to Succeed in Hollywood without Really Trying: P.S.—You Can't!



Shavelson, Melville, How to Succeed in Hollywood without Really Trying: P.S.—You Can't!, Bear Manor Media (Albany, GA), 2007.


Los Angeles Times, August 9, 2007, p. B8.

New York Times, August 11, 2007, p. B10.

Times (London, England), August 14, 2007, p. 48.