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Penn, Arthur


PENN, ARTHUR (1922– ), U.S. director, screenwriter, and producer. Born in Philadelphia, Penn spent most of his childhood in New York and New Hampshire with his mother. In high school, he returned to his hometown and began studying his father's watchmaking profession after graduating. His entertainment career began in 1943 when he enlisted in the Army and started performing in a theater troupe. Toward the end of the war, he decided to study acting at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and the Italian universities of Perugia and Florence. In 1948, he started working for the new nbc tv. At nbc, he wrote television plays and directed episodes of Goodyear Television Playhouse and Philco Playhouse, including William Gibson's The Miracle Worker for television (1956). In 1958 Penn directed The Miracle Worker on Broadway, winning the Tony award, and also made his film debut directing The Left-Handed Gun. Penn returned to The Miracle Worker in 1962, directing the film version, which earned him a best director Oscar nomination. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) also earned Penn a best director nomination. Penn co-wrote Alice's Restaurant in 1969, based on Arlo Guthrie's recording, which earned him another best director nomination. Little Big Man (1970) was a commercial success. Penn later produced and directed Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989). In the 1990s, he directed two made-for-tv movies: The Portrait (1993) and Inside (1996). Other Penn films are The Chase (1965) with Robert Redford, Night Moves (1973), The Missouri Breaks (1976) with Marlon Brando, Four Friends (1981), Target (1985), and Dead of Winter (1987). Penn also turned to television, directing episodes and consulting on the show 100 Center Street (2001). Penn's brother is the renowned photographer Irving *Penn.

[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]

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