Stern, Daniel

views updated May 18 2018

STERN, Daniel

Nationality: American. Born: New York, 18 January 1928. Education: Columbia University, The New School for Social Research, Julliard School of Music. Military Service: United States Army Infantry, 1946-47: staff sergeant. Family: Married 1963; one son. Career: Senior vice-president, managing director, McCann-Erickson, Advertising, 1964-69; vice-president advertising and publicity, Warner Bros. Motion Pictures, 1969-71; vice-president east coast, CBS Entertainment, 1979-86; director of humanities, 92nd Street Y, New York, 1986-88; president, Entertainment Division, McCaffrey & McCall, Advertising, 1989; professor of English, University of Houston, 1992-93. Since 1993 Cullen Distinguished Professor of English, University of Houston. Fellow, 1969, Boynton Professor in Creative Writing, 1975, visiting professor in letters and English, 1976-78, all Wesleyan University; visiting professor of creative writing, New York University Film School, 1981; Dyson Memorial Lecturer in the Humanities, Pace University, 1982 and 1984; literary director, Institute for Advanced Theatre Training and American Repertory Theatre, Harvard University, 1992. Awards: International Prix du Souvenir, 1978, for Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die; O. Henry prize, 1993, and Pushcart prize, 1993, both for "A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka"; City of Houston Recognition award for academic and literary distinction, 1993; Brazos prize for best short story, Texas Institute of Letters, 1996. . Agent: Borchardt Agency, 136 E. 57th St., New York, New York 10022, U.S.A.



The Girl with the Glass Heart. New York, Bobbs Merrill, 1957.

The Guests of Fame. New York, Ballantine, 1958.

Miss America. New York, Random House, 1959.

Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die. New York, Crown, 1963.

After the War. New York, Putnam, 1965.

The Suicide Academy. New York, McGraw Hill, and London, Allen, 1968.

The Rose Rabbi. New York, McGraw Hill, 1971.

Final Cut. New York, Viking, 1975.

An Urban Affair. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1980.

Short Stories

Twice Told Tales. N.p., Paris Review Editions, 1989.

Twice Upon a Time. New York, Norton, 1992.

One Day's Perfect Weather: More Twice Told Tales. Dallas, Southern Methodist University Press, 1999.

Uncollected Short Stories

"The Oven Bird by Robert Frost: A Story," in Paris Review, Spring1995.

"Grievances and Griefs by Robert Frost: A Story," in Boulevard, Spring 1995.

"Comfort," in American Short Fiction, Spring 1995.


The Television Waiting Room. In Playwrights Horizons, 1987.

* * *

"All men are artists. After all, they have their lives." In just this way Daniel Stern opens his novel The Rose Rabbi, with an epigram that also serves as the story's thematic center, a terse, cryptic anchorhold that alone will finally make sense of the swirl of events that come to occupy Wolf Walker in the course of a day. Yet the epigram as thematic center is characteristic throughout Stern's fiction, revealing a central thesis at work in his aesthetic, whatever the story: life is always a problem in art. Whether it be art as the cinema (Final Cut ), or the more practical sphere of urban planning (An Urban Affair ), or art as theater (Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die ), or art as language (After the War, The Suicide Academy, and The Rose Rabbi ), for Daniel Stern art as form is elemental, imposed on a world otherwise chaotic without it, a form that molds and makes sense finally of lives and predicaments, and renders what is the ultimate concern of all Stern's fiction: redemption.

Fundamental to Stern's narrative approach in shaping the crises of his characterscrises that demand answers if life is to be lived at all in a world otherwise irrational and chaoticis his concern with memory, and its function in time as a paradoxical force of both continuity and discontinuity. The paradox is detailed as a push and pull of what is past, impossible except as memory, and what is the present, equally impossible without some meaning rendered it by the past. We see this in After the War with especial clarity, where the protagonist, Richard Stone, back in New York after service in World War II, tries to live a life entirely in the present, a life of what he calls "disconnectedness," trying to escape memory, yet unable to escape the reality of a father who deserted him as a child. He tries to make sense of what happened to his close friend Jake, blown apart on the Italian front, the "brute fact," the "thingness" of Jake's dismembered body, evoking as it does the disconnectedness of Stone's present life as also "brute fact." The crisis that overcomes Richard Stone is thus life as aftermath, and how to live it.

Echoing the resolution finally achieved in After the War, Stern follows with two novels in the surrealist vein that take the matter further by illustrating the idea we can even create in the present the memory needed for just the necessary sense of making life as aftermath something purposeful. Thus the Wolf Walker of The Rose Rabbi can say on the occasion of his fortieth birthday, an occasion that propels the novel into action, that he was "eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present." And he adds: "First, to invent myself, and then a locale." And in The Suicide Academy it is a dream of the other Wolf Walker which opens and propels that novel into action, of his former wife Jewel singing "Aprés un rève" by Fauré, and in particular the repetition of her singing " reviens, reviens. " It is a matter addressed still further, and in an entirely fresh way, by Stern's more recent venture into short fiction: Twice Told Tales and Twice Upon a Time. The magic and tension of "twice" designates every story a return, a mirror in aftermath of the story behind it and recreating it.

Yet nowhere does Stern achieve this vision more dramatically than in the dark, haunted pages of Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die. Nowhere is aftermath a more profound and oppressive entity, yet also an ultimate ground for choice, than in this story of two men, Judah Kramer and Carl Walkowitz, protagonist and antagonist, who survive the Holocaust and meet years later, becoming colleagues and yet at odds in the preparation of a Broadway play, At the Gates, directed by Kramer and set in a Nazi death camp much like that which the two men had known. But Kramer, to save his own family, had been responsible for the death of Walkowitz's family in that camp. It is evidence of the particularly close ties between this novel and the one that follows, After the War, that, as different as they are in many respects, the signal question which defines and drives the narrative of After the War, "Who will tell us how to lead our lives?," is the essential question of the earlier novel. And that the solution each man seeks to realize is finally enacted on a stage, with all the props of a concentration camp in place, and with all that is memory of the real camp years earlier impinging upon the moment as these two men face off, is a tour de force, and elevates Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die to a rare achievement in American letters.

Eric Muirhead

Stern, Daniel 1957–

views updated May 23 2018

STERN, Daniel 1957–

(Dan Stern, Danny Stern)


Born August 28, 1957, in Bethesda, MD; brother of David M. Stern (a television writer); married; wife's name, Laure; children: Henry, Sophie, Ella Marie. Education: Studied acting at HB (Herbert Berghof) Studio; studied acting with Austin Pendleton.

Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; Cunningham/Escott/Dipene & Associates, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 140, Los Angeles, CA 90025; Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—Thruline Entertainment, 9250 Wilshire Blvd., Ground Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (some sources cite 8840 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Beverly Hills, CA 90211).

Career: Actor, director, and producer. Founder of Chesapeake Entertainment. Also known as Dan Stern and Danny Stern.


Film Appearances:

Cyril, Breaking Away, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1979.

Student, Starting Over, Paramount, 1979.

Actor, Stardust Memories, United Artists, 1980.

Crazy kid (draft inductee), A Small Circle of Friends, United Artists, 1980.

Hare Krishna, One–Trick Pony, Warner Bros., 1980.

Stanley Cooperman, It's My Turn (also known as A Perfect Circle), Columbia, 1980.

Spanky, Honky Tonk Freeway, Universal, 1981.

Jim, I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, Paramount, 1982.

Laurence "Shrevie" Schreiber, Diner, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1982.

Neil Allan, Get Crazy (also known as Flip Out), Embassy, 1983.

Officer Richard Lymangood, Blue Thunder (also known as Blue Thunder the Movie), Columbia, 1983.

Ben Frankenstein, Frankenweenie (short film), Buena Vista, 1984.

A. J. "the reverend" Shepherd, C.H.U.D. (also known as Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers), New World, 1984.

Dusty, Hannah and Her Sisters, Orion, 1985.

Michael Fine, Key Exchange, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1985.

Joel Keefer, The Boss' Wife, TriStar, 1986.

Jimmy, Born in East L.A., Universal, 1987.

Hal Petersham, D.O.A., Buena Vista, 1988.

Herbie Platt, The Milagro Beanfield War, Universal, 1988.

Buzz "Sixpack" Parrish, Leviathan, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1989.

Glen Stevenson, Little Monsters, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer/United Artists, 1989.

Matt, Friends, Lovers and Lunatics (also known as Crazy Horse and She Drives Me Crazy), Fries, 1989.

Marv Merchants, Home Alone, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1990.

Marvin Libner, Coupe de Ville, Universal, 1990.

Will Stubbs, My Blue Heaven, Warner Bros., 1990.

Phil Berquist, City Slickers, Columbia, 1991.

Marv Merchants, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (also known as Home Alone II), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Phil Brickman, Rookie of the Year, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Phil Berquist, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (also known as City Slickers II and City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold), Columbia, 1994.

Max Grabelski, Bushwhacked (also known as The Bushwacked Tenderfoot, The Tenderfoot, and Tenderfoots), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1995.

Mike O'Hara, Celtic Pride, Buena Vista, 1996.

Adam Berkow, Very Bad Things, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1998.

(Uncredited) Guest at costume party, How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog, Artistic License, 2000.

Frank Jacobs, Viva Las Nowhere (also known as Dead Simple), Warner Bros., 2001.

Jack Reynolds, Clarion's Call, Buccaneer Films, 2005.

Film Work:

Director, Rookie of the Year, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1993.

Executive producer, Bushwhacked (also known as The Bushwacked Tenderfoot, The Tenderfoot, and Tenderfoots), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1995.

Television Appearances; Series:

Joey Nathan, Hometown, CBS, 1985.

(Uncredited) Narrator (Kevin Arnold as an adult), The Wonder Years, ABC, 1988–1993.

Voice of Dilbert, Dilbert (animated), UPN, 1999–2000.

Title role, Danny, CBS, 2001.

Joe Binder, Regular Joe, ABC, 2003.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Micah, Samson and Delilah, ABC, 1984.

Skip Imperali, The Ratings Game (also known as The Mogul), 1984.

Dr. David Garfield, Weekend War, ABC, 1988.

William Cline, The Court–Martial of Jackie Robinson, TNT, 1990.

George W. Piper, "Tourist Trap," The Wonderful World of Disney, ABC, 1998.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Day–to–Day Affairs, HBO, 1985.

The Movie Awards, CBS, 1991.

The Making of "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," Fox, 1992.

Your Money & Your Life: America's Managed Care Revolution, PBS, 1995.

Himself, Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western, TNT, 1997.

Narrator, More Favorite Toys, The Discovery Channel, 1998.

Narrator, Our Favorite Fun Food, The Discovery Channel, 1998.

Narrator, The Science of Christmas, The Discovery Channel, 1999.

Himself, AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies (also known as AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Laughs), CBS, 2000.

Himself, Totally Tube, E! Entertainment Television, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Voice of adult narrator, "Three Men and a Comic Book," The Simpsons (animated), Fox, 1990.

Himself, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1990 and 1991.

Himself, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, multiple episodes in 1991 and 1994.

Pierre, "Give Me Liberte," seaQuest DSV (also known as seaQuest 2032), NBC, 1993.

Harvey Hochfelder, "The Shot," Gun (also known as Robert Altman's Gun), ABC, 1997.

Voice of Mr. Packenham, "Tour de Pond/Teachers' Strike," Hey Arnold! (animated), Nickelodeon, 1997.

Himself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997.

Himself, Tvography: The Wonder Years—Comedy Coming of Age, Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Leon, Man about Town, ABC, 1986.

Title role, Danny, CBS, 2001.

Television Executive Producer and Creator; Series:

Danny, CBS, 2001.

Regular Joe, ABC, 2003.

Television Director; Episodic:

The Wonder Years, ABC, various episodes from 1989–1991.

Stage Appearances:

American soldier, The Old Glory, American Place Theatre, New York City, 1976.

Frankie and Annie, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York City, 1978.

Leo, Lost and Found, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, 1979.

The reporter, How I Got That Story, Second Stage Theatre, New York City, 1980.

Lee, True West, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York City, 1982–1984.

House, Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, Long Island, NY, 1998.

Gabe, Dinner with Friends, Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, 2000.

Appeared as a lute player, As You Like It, Washington Shakespeare Festival; appeared off–Broadway in Almost Men, The Mandrake, Pastorale, Split, and The Undefeated Rumba Champs.



"The Tree House," The Wonder Years (episodic), ABC, 1989.

Danny (pilot), CBS, 2001.

Stage Plays:

Barbra's Wedding, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, PA, 2002, Manhattan Theatre Club, Westside Theatre Downstairs, New York City, 2003.



People Weekly, June 26, 2000, pp. 90–91.

USA Today, February 1, 1999.

Stern, Daniel

views updated May 21 2018

STERN, Daniel

STERN, Daniel. American, b. 1928. Genres: Novels, Novellas/Short stories. Career: Cellist, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana, 1948-49; freelance mag. writer, NYC, 1955-58; former Copywriter, Doner & Peck Advertising Agency, NYC; Sr. Vice-President, and Managing Director, McCann-Erickson Advertising Inc., NYC, 1964-69; Fellow, Center for the Humanities, 1969, and Visiting Professor of English and Letters, 1976-79, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn. Vice-President of Advertising and Publicity Worldwide, Warner Bros., 1969-72; Vice-President, and Director of Marketing, Longchamps Inc., NYC, 1972-73; Vice-President and Creative Director, Lubar-Southard, NYC, 1973; Vice-President of Promotion for the E. Coast, CBS Entertainment, NYC, 1979-86; President, Entertainment Division, McCaffrey and McCall Advertising, NYC, 1986; Director of Humanities, 92nd St. YMCA, NYC, 1988. Publications: The Girl with the Glass Heart, 1953; The Guests of Fame, 1955; Miss America, 1959; Who Shall Live, Who Shall Die, 1963; After the War, 1967; The Suicide Academy, 1968; The Rose Rabbi, 1971; Final Cut, 1975; An Urban Affair, 1980. STORIES: Twice Told Tales, 1989; Twice upon a Time, 1992; One Day's Perfect Weather: More Twice Told Tales, 1999; In the Country of the Young, 2000; A Little Street Music, 2004.