Jay Presson Allen
Screenwriter and playwright Jay Presson Allen was something of a late-bloomer, but quickly established one of the most successful and enduring writing careers in the movie business. Serving her creative apprenticeship in live television, Jay Presson Allen penned her first film script, Wives and Lovers, in 1963, though most chroniclers prefer to list her multifaceted screenplay for Hitchcock's Marnie (1964) as her inaugural movie effort. She scored her biggest success in 1966, when she adapted Muriel Spark's novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the stage; three years later, her screenplay adaptation of the same property won her an Academy Award nomination. Her subsequent Broadway efforts have included 40 Carats and Tru, while her screen credits have embraced such projects as Cabaret (1972), Funny Lady (1975) and Just Tell Me What You Want (1980, from her own novel). Allen returned to television in the late seventies as creator of the critically-acclaimed series Family (1976-80), starring Sada Thompson, James Broderick, Meredith Baxter-Birney, Gary Frank, and Kristy McNichol. She served as executive producer for It's My Turn (1980), Prince of the City (1981), Deathtrap (1982) and The Morning After (the last three of which were all partnerships with longtime collaborator Sidney Lumet) and remained incredibly active into the nineties, when she turned out no less than four produced screenplays: The Prince of Tides, Year of the Gun, Lord of the Flies, and The Cemetery Club (though, in the case of Lord of the Flies, she vehemently disliked the finished product and insisted that her name be removed from the credits). Allen spent her last thirteen years in semi-retirement, and died of a stroke on May 1, 2006, in Manhattan. She was eighty-four.