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Sherman, Vincent 1906-2006

SHERMAN, Vincent 1906-2006

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born July 16, 1906, in Vienna, GA; died June 18, 2006, in Los Angeles, CA. Film and television director and author. Sherman was a respected director for Warner Bros. during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. He was the son of Russian immigrants who changed their name from Horovitz to Orovitz because they thought it sounded more American. Sherman's original given name was Abram. Graduating from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1925, he pursued a law degree at night while working as a police reporter for an Atlanta newspaper. He and a friend collaborated on writing a play, and in 1927 his plans changed radically when they went to New York City to try and sell their work. The play was never produced, but the young law student caught the acting bug and started working in the theater. An agent changed his name to Vincent Sherman, and he gained roles in Theater Guild productions and in summer stock theater in the Poconos. His first break came in 1932, when a Hollywood producer hired him to reprise a stage role for the film version of Counselor-at-Law. Sherman decided to stay in Hollywood, and he found small parts in gangster movies and in plays, while also pursuing writing. After six months in California, however, he returned to New York, but his involvement in a road production of Dead End in 1937 brought him back to Hollywood. Here, he was hired by Warner Bros. to work in their B-picture unit. Sherman became a rewrite man, revising screenplays for films that starred such actors as Paul Muni and Jimmy Cagney. Later working with such actors as Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, and Ronald Reagan, he moved into directing films, including The Hard Way (1942), The Hasty Heart (1949), An Affair in Trinidad (1952), and Ice Palace (1960), making about thirty films in all. His career hit a bump in the 1950s when he was "grey listed" for knowing some actors who were "black listed" under suspicion of being communists. When the McCarthy era ended and actors returned to Hollywood, Sherman did, too. By the 1960s, the studio system in Hollywood was crumbling, however, and Sherman decided to work in television instead. He directed television movies, such as The Last Hurrah (1977) and The Dream Merchants (1980), and episodes of the series The Waltons, Medical Center, Baretta, and Trapper John, M.D., among other popular shows. He wrote about his Hollywood life in Studio Affairs: My Life As a Film Director (1996).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

BOOKS

Sherman, Vincent, Studio Affairs: My Life As a Film Director, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, June 21, 2006, section 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2006, p. B11.

New York Times, June 21, 2006, p. C19.

Washington Post, June 22, 2006, p. B8.

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