Fay Kanin

Fay Kanin ( born May 9, 1917 in New York City as Fay Mitchell, † March 27, 2013 in Santa Monica, California ) was an American screenwriter, film producer and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Kanin grew up in Elmira, New York. At the age of 12, she received from the hands of the then Governor Franklin Roosevelt a trophy for winning the spelling bee of New York State. After moving her family to California, she attended the University of Southern California, where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree. She then worked as a screenwriter for RKO Pictures. She also played in a small theater, where she met Michael Kanin, whom she married in 1940.

In 1942 she sold the first jointly -created script to Metro -Goldwyn- Mayer. While her husband was working on another film project, Kanin wrote the stage play Goodbye My Fancy, which brought it with Madeleine Carroll, Conrad Nagel and Shirley Booth in the lead roles in the Broadway season 1948/49, a total of 446 performances. The piece was filmed in 1951 with Joan Crawford and Robert Young in the lead roles. By 1985, four more of their pieces came to a Broadway show, for Grind in 1985 she was nominated for a Tony Award.

In the McCarthy era, both were put on the black list. Only under the direction of the director Charles Vidor they could continue to work for MGM. Together with her husband she wrote the screenplay for the feature film Reporter love with Clark Gable and Doris Day in the lead roles. 1959 her screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. By the early 1970s, she also worked for television and wrote several TV movies. Her work has been honored with three Emmy Awards and other nominations. It should be emphasized especially the Vietnam drama to die For the Fatherland, which was seen in 1979, according to audience measurement of about 60 million viewers.

Kanin was from 1979 to 1983 in four terms of office President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is responsible among other things for the award of the Oscars. She was only the second president after Bette Davis, who was, however, been only a month in office. She held positions in addition to the Writers Guild of America, the American Film Institute and the Library of Congress.

Filmography (selection)