Irwin Shaw

Biography of Irwin Shaw

Irwin Shaw (February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for his novel The Young Lions (1948) about the fate of three soldiers during World War II that was made into a film starring Marlon Brando. Though Shaw's work received widespread critical acclaim, the success of his commercial fiction ultimately diminished his literary reputation.

Shaw was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in the South Bronx, New York City, to Russian-Jewish immigrants. His parents were Rose and Will. His younger brother, David Shaw (died 2007), became a noted Hollywood producer. Shortly after Irwin's birth, the Shamforoffs moved to Brooklyn. Irwin changed his surname upon entering college. He spent most of his youth in Brooklyn, where he graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934. Shaw died in Davos, Switzerland on May 16, 1984, aged 71, after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.

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