Julius Epstein

Biography of Julius Epstein

Julius J. Epstein (August 22, 1909 – December 30, 2000) was an American screenwriter, who had a long career, best remembered for the adaptation—in partnership with his twin brother, Philip, and others—of the unproduced play Everybody Comes to Rick's that became the screenplay for the film Casablanca (1942), for which its team of writers won an Academy Award. Following his brother's death in 1952, he continued writing, receiving two more Oscar nominations and, in 1998, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association career achievement award. His credits included Four Daughters (1938), The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), The Tender Trap (1955), Light in the Piazza (1962), Send Me No Flowers (1964), Pete 'n' Tillie (1972), and Reuben, Reuben (1983).

Epstein was born on August 22, 1909 in New York City, New York. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 1931 with a BA in Arts and Letters. Both brothers boxed for the varsity squad there; in fact, Julius became an NCAA Bantamweight Champion. He maintained close ties with Penn State throughout his life (often as a guest lecturer at the film school), and was buried in a Penn State polo shirt.

Jack Warner, head of Warner Bros., had a tortuous relationship with the Epstein brothers. While he could not argue with their commercial acumen, he deplored their pranks, their work habits and the hours they kept. In 1952, Warner gave their names to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). They never testified before the committee, but on a HUAC questionnaire, when asked if they ever were members of a "subversive organization," they responded, "Yes. Warner Brothers." He died on December 30, 2000 in Los Angeles, California.

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