George Axelrod

George Axelrod

Axelrod's next stage hit was "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" a satire on the movie business, which ran for more than a year on Broadway in the mid-1950s. It, too, was turned into a film, starring Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield. Axelrod was contemptuous of the 1957 movie, however, saying he didn't go see it because the studio, 20th Century Fox, "never used my story, my play or my script." During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Axelrod was one of the best paid writers in Hollywood, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for his 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's. He was also highly regarded for his adaptation of Richard Condon's novel for director John Frankenheimer's Cold War thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) starring Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra. Alexrod, who co-produced, considered it the best adaptation he ever penned. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, the movie was taken out of circulation and wasn't re-released until 1988, when it became a box office hit and was deemed by critics to be a classic of American cinema. Axelrod's directorial efforts ("Lord Love a Duck 1966, "The Secret Life of an American Wife" 1968), though equally superb, have unfortunately been overlooked. After a decade hiatus, he returned to film work in 1979 providing the screenplay for the remake of "The Lady Vanishes." Subsequent contributions include the scripts for Frankenheimer's "The Holcroft Covenant" (1985) and "The Fourth Protocol" (1987). He is the father of actress Nina Axelrod and stepfather of screenwriter Jonathan Axelrod.