November 25, 1926
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Playwright, Screenwriter, Musician, Attorney, Teacher
This American playwright has made occasional forays into motion pictures and TV with generally successful results. Murray Schisgal's profile benefited from his association with actor-director Dustin Hoffman beginning in the late 1960s on stage and culminating in 1982's comedy classic "Tootsie." (He shared final writing credit--and a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination--with Larry Gelbart and Don McGuire although there remains controversy over the contributions of each writer.)A native of Brooklyn, Schisgal turned to writing plays after careers as a musician, attorney and teacher. His early work reached the stage in Britain before hitting New York, with "The Typist" premiering on the London stage in 1961, and not making it to the Orpheum Theatre in New York until 1963. His first Broadway success came with "Luv," a three-character play about pseudo-intellectuals, which premiered in 1964 and earned a Tony Award for director Mike Nichols. The play was the basis of a failed 1967 film adaptation scripted by Elliot Baker and starring Jack Lemmon, Elaine May and Peter Falk. Also in 1967, Schisgal penned "The Tiger Makes Out," the screen version of his first produced play which featured Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson and marked the screen debut of Dustin Hoffman. Although he had become an established film personality with 1967's "The Graduate," Hoffman chose to return to the theater as star and director of Schisgal's "Jimmy Shine" (1968) and later as director of "All Over Town" (1974). Most of the writer's other plays have been produced either at small theaters in NYC or at regional theaters.