Garson Kanin

Director, Casting, Performer, Producer, Writer
Garson Kanin

Male

Born: November 24, 1912
Rochester, New York, USA

Died: March 13, 1999
New York, New York, USA

Garson Kanin, the multifaceted novelist, playwright, director, librettist and screenwriter whose Born Yesterday was one of the first major hits of postwar American theatre, died March 13, 1999, in Manhattan. He was 86. Garson Kanin, the multifaceted novelist, playwright, director, librettist and screenwriter whose Born Yesterday was one of the first major hits of postwar American theatre, died March 13 in Manhattan. He was 86.

Mr. Kanin's most enduring character in a career that included screenplays for such films such as "Pat and Mike" and "Adam's Rib" and such novels as "Moviola" (about a Hollywood studio) and "Smash" (about the making of a Broadway musical) was Billie Dawn, the tough, blonde mistress of a corrupt businessman in Born Yesterday (1946). The vehicle made Judy Holliday an instant star on Broadway and, later, Hollywood.

Mr. Kanin's wife, the actress Marian Seldes, was with him when he died at his home in Manhattan after a long illness, the New York Times reported. He was predeceased in 1985 by his first wife, Ruth Gordon, his co screenwriter for five films, including the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy pictures "Pat and Mike" and "Adam's Rib." The couple also worked together on theatrical projects, with Mr. Kanin directing her scripts or her performances.

Born in Rochester, NY, in 1912, Mr. Kanin began his theatrical career as an actor and an apprentice director to George Abbott. When he was in his twenties, Mr. Kanin was also a film director (RKO's "A Man to Remember," among others) before he served in World War II in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

He directed plays by Ms. Gordon -- they were considered one of the great showbusiness couples of the century -- and wrote and directed his own works, including The Smile of the World, The Rat Race, A Gift of Time and The Live Wire, among many others.

As a stage director, one of his best-known successes was Funny Girl, the 1964 musical about vaudevillian Fanny Brice, starring a young Barbra Streisand.

He also directed the original Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank and he directed and wrote the libretto of the Betty Comden Adolph Green-Jule Styne musical, Do Re MI, which is being revived in concert by "Encores!" this spring.

He married Seldes in 1990, when he was 76. He is also survived by a sister, Ruth Kanin, of Montreal, the Times reported.

-- By Kenneth Jones

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - Born Yesterday Born Yesterday
Apr. 24, 2011 - Jun. 26, 2011
Playwright
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Born Yesterday Born Yesterday
Jan. 29, 1989 - Jun. 11, 1989
Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dreyfus in Rehearsal Dreyfus in Rehearsal
Oct. 17, 1974 - Oct. 26, 1974
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
    Book Adaptation
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - We Have Always Lived in the Castle We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Oct. 19, 1966 - Oct. 26, 1966
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - A Very Rich Woman A Very Rich Woman
Sep. 30, 1965 - Oct. 23, 1965
Director
(Original)
 
    Producer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - I Was Dancing I Was Dancing
Nov. 8, 1964 - Nov. 21, 1964
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Funny Girl Funny Girl
Mar. 26, 1964 - Jul. 1, 1967
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Come on Strong Come on Strong
Oct. 4, 1962 - Nov. 3, 1962
Director
(Original)
 
    Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Gift of Time A Gift of Time
Feb. 22, 1962 - May 12, 1962
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
    Writer
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Sunday in New York Sunday in New York
Nov. 29, 1961 - May 12, 1962
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Do Re Mi Do Re Mi
Dec. 26, 1960 - Jan. 13, 1962
Director
(Original)
 
    Book
(Original)
 
The Good Soup
Mar. 2, 1960 - Mar. 19, 1960
Book Adaptation
(Original)
 
    Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Hole in the Head A Hole in the Head
Feb. 28, 1957 - Jul. 13, 1957
Director
(Original)
 
Small War on Murray Hill
Jan. 3, 1957 - Jan. 12, 1957
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Diary of Anne Frank The Diary of Anne Frank
Oct. 5, 1955 - Jun. 22, 1957
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Live Wire The Live Wire
Aug. 17, 1950 - Sep. 9, 1950
Director
(Original)
 
    Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Rat Race The Rat Race
Dec. 22, 1949 - Mar. 4, 1950
Writer
(Original)
 
    Staging
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Smile of the World The Smile of the World
Jan. 12, 1949 - Jan. 15, 1949
Staging
(Original)
 
    Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Leading Lady The Leading Lady
Oct. 18, 1948 - Oct. 23, 1948
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - How I Wonder How I Wonder
Sep. 30, 1947 - Nov. 22, 1947
Director
(Original)
 
    Producer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Years Ago Years Ago
Dec. 3, 1946 - May 31, 1947
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Born Yesterday Born Yesterday
Feb. 4, 1946 - Dec. 31, 1949
Staging
(Original)
 
    Writer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Rugged Path The Rugged Path
Nov. 10, 1945 - Jan. 19, 1946
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Too Many Heroes Too Many Heroes
Nov. 15, 1937 - Nov. 27, 1937
Staging
(Original)
 
Hitch Your Wagon
Apr. 8, 1937 - May 1, 1937
Staging
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Brother Rat Brother Rat
Dec. 16, 1936 - Apr. 23, 1938
Casting
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Star Spangled Star Spangled
Mar. 10, 1936 - Mar. 1, 1936
Vincent Chenevski Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Boy Meets Girl Boy Meets Girl
Nov. 27, 1935 - Jun. 19, 1937
Green Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Body Beautiful The Body Beautiful
Oct. 31, 1935 - Nov. 1, 1935
Izzy Cohen Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Three Men on a Horse Three Men on a Horse
Jan. 30, 1935 - Jan. 9, 1937
Al Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ladies' Money Ladies' Money
Nov. 1, 1934 - Dec. 1, 1934
Red Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Spring Song Spring Song
Oct. 1, 1934 - Nov. 1, 1934
Young Man Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Little Ol' Boy Little Ol' Boy
Apr. 24, 1933 - May 3, 1933
Tommy Deal Performer
(Original)
 
 

Inside the Playbill (6)

See more Who's Who

Awards


Tony Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
1961 Direction of a Musical Do Re Mi Nominee
1956 Direction (pre-1960) The Diary of Anne Frank Nominee
 
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