Chayefsky, Paddy

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CHAYEFSKY, PADDY (1923–1981), U.S. playwright. Chayefsky, who was born in the Bronx, New York, first began writing while recovering from wounds received in the U.S. Army during World War ii. In a number of his works, Chayefsky draws on his first-hand knowledge of Jewish life and tradition. Marty (1953), a television play, was a warm portrayal of a Bronx butcher's love for a teacher. It was made into a successful motion picture that won an Academy Award in 1955. This was followed by a number of other television plays including The Bachelor Party (1957) (which was also made into a screen play), and The Catered Affair (1955). In his play The Tenth Man (1959), Chayefsky revived the legend of the dybbuk, setting his story in the Bronx. Gideon (1961), a play inspired by the biblical account of the Hebrew judge's victory over the Midianites, dramatizes man's alternate dependence on and rebellion against God. Chayefsky's most ambitious work, The Passion of Joseph D. (1964), which he also directed, is a morality play dealing with the major personalities of the Russian Revolution of 1917. In 1974 Chayefsky was awarded the Laurel Award, the most coveted prize of the Writers' Guild of America.

[Joseph Mersand (2nd ed.]


Current Biography, 18 (Sep. 1957), 16–18; Newsweek (Nov. 20, 1961 and Feb. 24, 1964); Life (Dec. 15, 1961); Theatre Critic (Jan. 1962).