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Raphaelson, Samson


RAPHAELSON, SAMSON (1894–1983), U.S. playwright and screenwriter. After graduating from the University of Illinois, the Manhattan-born Raphaelson worked at various jobs, including English literature professor at his alma mater, advertising account executive, and crime reporter at the New York Times. The Jazz Singer (1926) was Raphaelson's first and best-known play. A story of assimilation, it told how a young Jew breaks with his family's tradition of being cantors to become a jazz singer. In 1927, Raphaelson adopted The Jazz Singer for the screen and it became the first "talkie." Raphaelson's 1934 play, Accent on Youth, was turned into a film in 1935. It was redone in 1950 as Mr. Music and in 1959 as But Not for Me. Other Raphaelson plays that later became movies include Skylark (1941), Bannerline (1951), from his play A Rose Is Not a Rose, and Hilda Crane (1956). In 1941, Raphaelson wrote the Alfred Hitchock classic Suspicion. Raphaelson characterized his work as "sophisticated comedy," which went well with director Ernst *Lubitsch's style. The two often worked together, and Raphaelson was the screenwriter for The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), Broken Lullaby (1932), One Hour with You (1932), Trouble in Paradise (1932), The Merry Widow (1934), Angel (1937), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), and Heaven Can Wait (1943). Other Raphaelson films include Caravan (1934), Ladies Love Danger (1935), Green Dolphin Street (1947), and That Lady in Ermine (1948). From 1978 to 1982, Raphaelson taught screenwriting at Columbia University. Raphaelson was Robert *Rafelson's uncle.

[Susannah Howland (2nd ed.)]

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