Ronald Harwood

Ronald Harwood

Highest Rated: 95% The Pianist (2002)

Lowest Rated: 0% The Doctor and the Devils (1985)

Birthday: Nov 09, 1934

Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

A distinguished writer of plays, novels, short stories, non-fiction, and screenplays, Ronald Harwood earned a reputation for intelligent literary adaptations that often drew from his own works. Though he had a long and fruitful career, Harwood came to prominence late in life by winning the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Roman Polanski's extraordinary film, "The Pianist" (2002), which depicted Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman's survival in Nazi occupied Warsaw. Previously he earned Academy attention with the adaptation of his own play, "The Dresser" (1983), which drew upon his own experiences as a personal assistant to aging actor Sir Donald Wolfit in the 1950s. Harwood later brought recognition to the struggle of apartheid with his biopic on "Mandela" (HBO, 1987) and later with his adaptation of "Cry, the Beloved Country" (1995). After "The Pianist," he delivered notable adaptations of W. Somerset Maugham's "Being Julia" (2003) and Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (2005), before writing an extraordinary adaptation of debilitated editor Jean Dominique-Bauby's memoir, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007). While most writers saw their best work earlier in life, Harwood improved exponentially with age on his way to becoming one of the literary world's most celebrated and prolific scribes. Born Ronald Horwitz on Nov. 9, 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa, Harwood was raised by his father, Isaac Horwitz, and his mother, Isobel. As a white South African, he did not suffer directly the unfairness of the racist apartheid state, but the injustice of racial discrimination nevertheless hit home with the advent of World War II due to his Jewish heritage. As a boy, Harwood became intensely aware of his outsider status while watching newsreel footage of the Nazi atrocities at Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz death camps. The haunting images of bulldozers shifting mounds of corpses into mass graves had a profound impact upon him and his future creative life as a writer. At the age of 17, Harwood moved to England to pursue a career as an actor and briefly attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, only to drop out after a year when his father died and his mother could no longer pay tuition. To make ends meet, Harwood landed a job as a dresser to famed Shakespearean actor, Sir Donald Wolfit, leading to travels in and around England as Wolfit's backstage jack-of-all-trades, where he learned a great deal about writing and the theater.

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Filmography

Movies

Credit
80% 66% Quartet Screenwriter $18.4M 2012
94% 92% The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Writer $6M 2007
27% 45% Love in the Time of Cholera Writer $4.6M 2007
61% 63% Oliver Twist Writer (Screenplay) $2M 2005
76% 74% Being Julia Writer $7.7M 2004
23% 35% The Statement Writer (Screenplay) $763K 2003
95% 96% The Pianist Writer (Screenplay) $32.5M 2002
85% 73% Cry, the Beloved Country Writer $337.2K 1995
78% 79% The Browning Version Screenwriter $172.1K 1994
No Score Yet 88% A Fine Romance Writer $10.1K 1991
0% 38% The Doctor and the Devils Screenwriter $147.1K 1985
17% 91% One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich Writer - 1971
No Score Yet 51% A High Wind in Jamaica Writer (Screenplay) - 1965
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Barber of Stamford Hill Screenwriter - 1962

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