Jules Furthman


Jules Furthman (March 5, 1888 – September 22, 1966) was an American magazine and newspaper writer before working as a screenwriter.

Jules Furthman
Jules Furthman & William Russell - May 1919 EH.jpg
Jules Furthman and actor William Russell in 1919
Born(1888-03-05)March 5, 1888
DiedSeptember 22, 1966(1966-09-22) (aged 78)
OccupationScreenwriter, director and producer
Years active1915–1959
Spouse(s)Sybil Seely (m. 1920-1966; his death); 1 child


Furthman was born in Chicago. His brother was the writer Charles Furthman. During World War I he wrote under the pen name "Stephen Fox" as he thought Furthman sounded too German.[1]

He wrote screenplays for a number of important or popular films, including The Docks of New York (1928), Thunderbolt (1929), Merely Mary Ann (1931), Shanghai Express (1932), Bombshell (1933), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Come and Get It (1936), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), and Nightmare Alley (1947). He wrote credited screenplays for eight films directed by Josef Von Sternberg and an equal number for Howard Hawks.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay for Mutiny on the Bounty.[2]

In 1920, he married the actress Sybil Seely, who played in five films directed by Buster Keaton. She and Furthman had a son in 1921, and she retired from acting in 1922. They remained together until his death.

Furthman died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1966 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. His remains were brought home and interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.


Pauline Kael once wrote that Furthman "has written about half of the most entertaining movies to come out of Hollywood."[3]

On the UK television program Scene By Scene, host Mark Cousins said, "Furthman wrote some of your best lines and he also wrote for her (Marlene Deitrich), those sort of, sexy and ambiguous lines." Lauren Bacall replied, "He did? Well, that I didn't know. I asked Howard Hawks once, why he used Furthman; as he didn't write the entire screenplay. And he (Hawks) said, 'If there are five ways to play a scene, he (Furthman) will write a sixth way.' And of course, that makes perfect sense and that's exactly what Furthman did. He always came around the back way and suddenly there was a little surprise there."[4]

List of screenplaysEdit


  1. ^ Thomson, David (May 6, 2014). The New Biographical Dictionary of Film: Sixth Edition. Knopf. p. 384. ISBN 978-1-101-87470-7.
  2. ^ "The 8th Academy Awards (1936) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
  3. ^ Kael, Pauline (October 21, 1967). "The Frightening Power of "Bonnie and Clyde"". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Cousins, Mark (2002). Scene by Scene: Film Actors and Directors Discuss Their Work. ISBN 9781856692878.

External linksEdit

  • Jules Furthman at IMDb
  • Jules Furthman papers, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Matthew J. Bruccoli collection of Jules Furthman at the University of South Carolina Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.
  • Jules Furthman screenplay collection at the University of South Carolina Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.