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Eleanor Bayer

Eleanor Bayer

Eleanor Bayer, born Eleanor Rosenfeld and more famously known as Eleanor Perry, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Western Reserve University, where she wrote for the college's literary magazine. Together with her first husband, attorney Leo G. Bayer, she wrote a series of suspense novels, including Paper Chase (1942), which she adapted for the screen under the title Dangerous Partners in 1945. After earning a Masters degree in psychiatric social work, she began to write plays, enjoying Broadway success in 1958 with Third Best Sport, a collaboration with her husband. The two were divorced shortly after. In 1960, she married aspiring film director Frank Perry, with whom she formed a long-lasting professional partnership (as well as the distinction of being among the small group of non-actors awarded membership in The Actors Studio). Their first film, the low-budget David and Lisa, for which she drew upon her psychiatric background, earned the couple Academy Award nominations for writing and direction. In 1966, she and Truman Capote adapted his novella, A Christmas Memory, for the anthology series ABC Stage 67, which earned her the first of two Emmy Awards. (The second was for The House Without a Christmas Tree in 1972). Following her divorce from Frank in 1971, Eleanor struggled to find work in the film industry. She incorporated many of the problems she faced as a female screenwriter in Hollywood into her 1979 novel, Blue Pages. In 1972, she was head of the jury at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival. In 1977, she was among the first wave of honorees of the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. Her son, William Bayer, is a successful crime fiction writer. On March 14, 1981, she succumbed to cancer in New York City. Seventeen years after her death, she received screen credit yet again when her original screenplay of David and Lisa was refilmed for television.


Samuel French Titles by Eleanor Bayer