An award-winning screenwriter, playwright and producer who served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and as vice president of the Writers Guild of America, West, has died. Fay Kanin, 95, died Wednesday at her home in Santa Monica, Calif.
The New York native served as president of AMPAS from 1979-1983. She won Emmys in the 1970s for her work on “Tell Me Where It Hurts” (best writing in drama — original teleplay, and writer of the year — special, both 1974) and “Friendly Fire” (outstanding drama/comedy special, 1978).
Kanin won numerous other industry awards as well, including being honored by the Writers Guild of America and the Women in Film Crystal Awards.
In a statement announcing Kanin’s death, the WGA, West, reported: “Industry icon Kanin sustained a remarkable, trail-blazing career that spanned stage, screen, and television over several decades, leaving an indelible impression in entertainment and popular culture.
“Kanin launched her screenwriting career in 1942 with the classic comedy ‘Sunday Punch,’ co-written with her longtime writing partner and husband, the late Michael Kanin, and Allen Rivkin. Fay and Michael Kanin soon emerged as part of one of the most successful wife-husband screenwriting teams in Hollywood, co-writing a string of screenplays for films such as ‘My Pal Gus’ (1952), ‘Rhapsody’ (1954, Screenplay by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin and Ruth Goetz and Augustus Goetz, Based on the Novel ‘Maurice Guest’ by Henry Handel Richardson), ‘The Opposite of Sex’ (1956, adapted from the play ‘The Women’ by Clare Booth), and the classic romantic comedy ‘Teacher’s Pet’ (1958).
“Her additional screenwriting credits include ‘The Right Approach’ (1961, Screenplay by Fay Kanin and Michael Kanin) and ‘The Swordsman of Siena’ (1962, Screenplay by Fay Kanin & Michael Kanin and Alec Coppel, Based on a Story by Anthony Marshall), and ‘Blondie for Victory’ (1942, Screenplay by Karen De Wolf & Connie Lee Bennett, Screen Story by Fay Kanin).”
Kanin made the move to television later in her career. In addition to the Emmy-winning 1974 telefilm “Tell Me Where It Hurts” and 1979’s “Friendly Fire,” her work on TV included “Hustling” (1975).
“In 1980, she partnered with Lillian Gallo to form her own production company Kanin-Gallo, yielding TV movies such as ‘Letting Go’ and ‘Fun and Games,’ which received the National Commission of Working Women Broadcast Award. She also penned and co-produced ‘Heartsounds’ (1984), based on the book by Martha Weiman Lear,” the WGA, West, announcement notes.