Stone, Peter, 1930-2003

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1930-02-27
Death 2003-04-26
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Stone was born in Los Angeles, CA, on Feb. 27, 1930; attended Bard College and Yale Univ.; established himself as a writer for the stage and screen in the 1960s; wrote various musicals on Broadway, including Kean (1961), Skyscraper (1965), 1776 (1969), and Two by two (1970); his film scripts include Charade (1963), Father Goose (1964), Mirage (1965), Arabesque (1966), Sweet Charity (1969), 1776 (1972), and Someone is killing the great chefs of Europe (1978); shared an Academy Award for the screenplay of Father Goose in 1964; occasionally used the pseudonym Pierre Marton.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1960-1967. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 38273342

Peter Stone (1930-2003) was an American writer of musicals, plays, films and television shows in the second half of the twentieth century. Stone was the first writer to win an Emmy Award, an Academy Award and a Tony Award.

Peter Stone grew up in Beverly Hills, the son of a New York City history teacher turned movie producer, John Stone. Stone, who worked at Twentieth Century Fox during the 1930s and 1940s, was known for producing westerns and the popular Charlie Chan mysteries. Peter Stone was interested in show business, and though he loved the movies, he was even more impressed with live theatre when he saw touring productions in their Los Angeles engagements. Knowing he eventually wanted to write for Broadway, he attended Bard College, in upstate New York, which was close enough for him to make frequent trips to the city to catch the latest musicals and plays on Broadway. He also learned the theatre from the ground up, acting in student productions and getting some of his own plays produced at Bard.

After college he went to Yale University, School of Drama for a Masters Degree, graduating in 1953. Stone spent most of the following decade working as a broadcast journalist and living in France, where his mother Hilda had moved after divorcing John Stone and marring literary agent George Marton. Stone was close with his mother and stepfather for the rest of their lives and occasionally wrote under the name "Pierre Marton."

In the early 1960s, Stone wrote scripts for a few television shows, including The Defenders, for which he won an Emmy Award. During this period he wrote the screenplay for, Charade (1963), directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Charade was a huge hit and landed Stone a contract with Universal Studios. This resulted in several more films, including Father Goose (1964), which won Stone an Academy Award. That was followed by Mirage (1965), Arabesque (1966), The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968), Jigsaw (1969) and the screen adaptation of Sweet Charity (1969).

During this period Stone was also writing the books for Broadway musicals. He had always loved musicals but aspired to be a playwright. Being a book-writer for musicals hadn't occurred to him until he was approached to write the book for Kean, Wright and Forrest's musical based on the life of Edmund Kean, which was to star Alfred Drake. Stone accepted because he was interested in Kean and anxious to work with the creative team. The show was a flop, but the experience helped him discover that he liked being a musical theatre book-writer. His second musical, Skyscraper was somewhat more successful and his third was a tremendous hit, both critically and commercially. Stone considered that show, 1776 (1969) a completely satisfying creative experience and it earned him his first Tony award.

He subsequently wrote the books for Richard Rodgers and Martin Charnin's Two By Two (1970), Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's Sugar (1972). He also wrote several screenplays in the 1970s, for such films as Skin Game (1971), The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), Silver Bears (1978) and Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe (1978). Back on Broadway, Stone wrote the book for Kander and Ebb's Woman of the Year (1981), for which he won his second Tony. He also wrote a new book for My One and Only (1983) during its out of town tryout. He wrote the book for Cy Coleman and Comden and Green's The Will Rogers Follies (1991) and picked up another Tony for Maury Yeston's Titanic (1997).

Stone had been working on a musical with Kander and Ebb for many years when he died. That show, Curtains, finally got to Broadway, with an adapted book and lyrics by Rupert Holmes in 2007, after the deaths of both Ebb and Stone. Another posthumous production, Death Takes a Holiday, which Stone wrote with Maury Yeston has been announced for the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2010-2011 season.

Stone served as President of the Dramatists' Guild from 1981-1999. Stone married Mary O'Hanley in 1961. He died on in New York on April 25, 2003.

From the guide to the Peter Stone papers, 1757-2003, 1950-2000, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

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Subjects:

  • Motion picture authorship
  • Musical films--United States
  • Musicals
  • Musicals--Writing and publishing--United States
  • Motion picture plays
  • Screenwriters--Archival resources
  • Motion picture authorship--United States
  • Dramatists--Archival resources
  • African American actors
  • Musicals--Writing and publishing
  • Musical theater--New York (State)--New York
  • Western films
  • Musical theater
  • Comedy films
  • Musical films

Occupations:

  • Dramatists--United States
  • Librettists
  • Librettists--United States
  • Television writers--United States
  • Screenwriters--United States

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Broadway (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Broadway (New York, N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)