Yordan, Philip 1913(?)-2003

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YORDAN, Philip 1913(?)-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born c. 1913 in Chicago, IL; died of pancreatic cancer March 24, 2003, in La Jolla, CA. Film producer and author. Yordan was a prominent movie producer and writer who won an Academy Award for his 1954 film, Broken Lance. After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from Kent College of Law, he embarked not on a career as an attorney but as a writer. His first work was for director William Dieterlie, and he quickly built a reputation as a "script doctor," someone who could fix a problematic script on a tight deadline. By the 1940s he was getting his own writing credits for such films as Dillinger (1945) and Bad Men of Tombstone (1949). When the House Un-American Activities Committee started blacklisting certain writers for suspected associations with the Communist Party, Yordan, who was not on the infamous list, helped his fellow writers by putting his name on their scripts, which allowed them to receive pay for their work unbeknownst to studios, although some later criticized him for receiving unearned credits. Over the course of his career Yordan produced work for famous producers such as Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer, creating films for stars as illustrious as Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, and Kirk Douglas. Never confining himself to one genre, his name appears in movies ranging from B Westerns such as Johnny Guitar (1953), science-fiction flicks like The Day of the Triffıds (1963), epics such as El Cid (1961) and King of Kings (1961), war movies such as Battle of the Bulge (1965), and disaster movies including Krakatoa, East of Java (1969), many of which he worked on as producer. Leaving Hollywood for Spain in the early 1960s to work on films with Samuel Bronston, he continued writing and producing films into the 1980s, with his last works including Cry Wilderness (1987) and The Unholy (1988). Yordan was also the author of two plays, Any Day Now (1941) and Anna Lucasta (1944), and was founder and former president of Security Pictures and former president of Interplay Industries. In addition to the Oscar he won, he was nominated for an Academy award for Dillinger (1945) and Detective Story (1951).



Thomson, David, A Biographical Dictionary of Film, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.


Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2003, section 1, p. 12.

Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2003, p. B14.

New York Times, April 6, 2003, p. A23.

Times (London, England), April 4, 2003.

Washington Post, April 5, 2003, p. B4.

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Yordan, Philip 1913(?)-2003

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