Chetwynd, Lionel

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CHETWYND, LIONEL (1940– ), U.S. film director. Chetwynd was born in Hackney in London's East End. His family immigrated to Canada in 1948, and Chetwynd grew up in Montreal and Toronto. In 1956, he was charged with a car theft and denied involvement. Instead of attending reform school, Chetwynd opted to join Canada's Royal Highland Black Watch regiment. After his discharge in 1958, he studied at Sir George Williams University in Montreal, where he graduated in 1963 as valedictorian, won a scholarship to attend McGill University Law School, and completed his graduate studies in law at Oxford's Trinity College in 1968. Chetwynd went to work at the Columbia Pictures' distribution department in London, where he eventually became the assistant managing director. During that time he wrote the plays Maybe That's Your Problem (1971) and Bleeding Great Orchids (1971), both of which were produced in London. In 1970, Chetwynd met director Ted Kotcheff in London and took on the screenplay for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, a comic tale about a Jewish man in 1940s Montreal, Quebec, based on the Mordecai *Richler novel. The script languished for a few years, and in the meantime Chetwynd moved to New York, where he wrote for the flagship cbs soap opera Love of Life, the pbs series The Addams Chronicles, and the cbs series Beacon Hill, based on the bbc's Upstairs Downstairs. Duddy Kravitz finally made it to the big screen in 1975 and won Chetwynd an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay adaptation. Chetwynd moved his family to Los Angeles, where he secured steady work writing feature films and television movies of the week. His next films were Morning Comes (1975) and Two Solitudes (1978), which he also directed. In 1979, he collaborated with Robert Altman on the gloomy post-apocalypse film Quintet. By 1976 Chetwynd was a naturalized U.S. citizen and had been tapped to write The American 1776, the official U.S. Bicentennial film. Chetwynd's television projects included Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (1977), a look back on John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign; Goldenrod (1977); and It Happened One Christmas (1977), a remake of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life; Miracle on Ice, about the 1980 U.S. hockey team Olympic victory: Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper (1981); and Sadat (1983), about the assassinated Egyptian leader who made peace with Israel; and Children in the Crossfire (1984). In 1987, Chetwynd wrote and directed The Hanoi Hilton, a feature film about American soldiers in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp; he was active in the National Sponsoring Committee of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial and the Brotherhood Rally of American Veterans Organization. In 1990, he wrote and directed So Proudly We Hail for cbs television, a tale of three youths who become white supremacists and which won Chetwynd the B'nai Zion Creative Achievement Award. Kissinger and Nixon (1995) earned him a Writers Guild and Gemini Award nomination for outstanding script. The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996) earned him a Cable Ace Award nomination, and in 2001 Chetwynd wrote the critically received Varian's War, the true story of Varian Fry, an American who rescued artists from the Nazis. Chetwynd served as an executive board member of the American Jewish Committee and taught at ucla and nyu. A political conservative, Chetwynd was appointed to President George W. Bush's Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2001. His also wrote dc 9/11: Time of Crisis (2003), a behind-the-scenes look at the Bush administration's response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and the Emmy-nominated Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004).

[Adam Wills (2nd ed.)]

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Chetwynd, Lionel

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