Ernest Lehman (Producer) | Playbill

Ernest Lehman


Among Mr. Lehman's screenplay credits were "North by Northwest" and (with Clifford Odets) "Sweet Smell of Success." The latter was drawn from a novella ("Tell Me About It Tomorrow," 1950) he had written based on his experience working for famed press agent Irving Hoffman in Depression-era Manhattan. When the story was published in Cosmopolitan, people wildly assumed the tale of vengeful columnist J.J. Hunsecker and his toadying sidekick, press agent Sidney Falco, was about Walter Winchell. Lehman told Neal Gabler, author of a biography of Winchell, that his fellow press agents avoided him after that, for fear of Winchell's retribution. Hoffman, meanwhile, thought Falco was meant to be an unflattering portrait of him. Asked by the offended Hoffman why he had written the story, Lehman replied, "You made me write all those goddamned paragraphs for the Hollywood Reporter when all I had was time and what was left of my brain to write short stories."

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  • Born: Dec 08, 1915 in New York, NY, USA
  • Death: Jul 02, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA, USA

Roles (2)

Sweet Smell of Success Playbill - Opening Night Sweet Smell of Success
Opened March 14, 2002
  • Based on the Novella and Screenplay by
  • Producer

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