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Fay Kanin – Former Academy President, Screenwriter Dies

Fay Kanin - Former Academy President, Screenwriter Dies

Fay Kanin, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning screenwriter passed away at the age of 95 of natural causes.

Kanin, alongside her husband Michael Kanin, were one of the most popular married screenwriting teams in Hollywood. The pair was responsible for Teacher’s Pet (1958), starring Clark Gable and Doris Day (for which they got an Oscar nomination), My Pal Gus (1952), Rhapsody (1954) with Elizabeth Taylor amongst many others. Kanin and her husband were blacklisted in the early 1950s for alleged communist sympathies. They didn’t work for two years.

Kanin wrote telefilms in the 1970s including, Friendly Fire, which starred Carol Burnett in the true story of an Iowa woman who waged war against the U.S. Government to find out about the death of her son in Vietnam. The film, which Kanin also produced, won four Emmys.

In 1979, Kanin was elected as president of the Academy and served four terms. She was only the second woman to do so.

Kanin had reflected upon her early career to author, Cari Beauchamp, and specifically on how women were perceived in Hollywood.

When I first started working in Hollywood, women were big stars… and they played complex, accomplished characters. And many of the writers were women. Then came the end of World War II; the men came home and took over to a larger degree than ever before. Female characters became either passive or sex objects, not much more than wallpaper around men’s lives.

Kanin’s films focused on strong, developed female characters and issues pertinent to women. And Kanin, herself, was an excellent role model for women working in the industry. She will be missed. 

Screenwriter, Former Academy President Fay Kanin Dies (The
Hollywood Reporter)

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