Stanley Kramer was a well-known American film producer and director who was known for making films that were very different and focused on social issues of the time. Most other producers and directors tried to stay away from topics like nuclear destruction, racism, and the effects of the Holocaust, but he wasn’t afraid to talk about them. His movies dealt with topics that other Hollywood producers and directors rarely touched on. His movies were called “message films” because the stories and scripts were meant to send a message about social problems and how to fix them. He was a fierce and independent producer and director, and his movies had a big effect on the audience’s and the world’s conscience. His movies about social issues have always had mixed reviews from critics. Many of his movies were very good, and over the course of his career as a producer, director, or both, three dozen of them were nominated for 80 “Academy Awards” and won 16 of them. His movies were nominated nine times for either “Best Picture” or “Best Director.”
Early years and childhood
Stanley Earl Kramer was born on September 29, 1913, in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, New York, USA.
When he was a little boy, his Jewish parents split up. His mother worked at the “Paramount Pictures” office in New York.
At the age of 15, he graduated from “De Witt Clinton High School” in the Bronx. In 1933, he went to “New York University” and got a degree in Business Administration.
Stanley Kramer’s Career
Stanley Kramer got his MBA and then moved to Hollywood to work in the movie business. He edits movies and writes scripts.
During the Second World War, he joined the Army Signal Corps and made films about training and getting to know the area.
After the war, he helped start a production company called Screen Plays Inc., which made the 1948 movie “So This Is New York.” Richard Fleischer was in charge of it.
In 1949, he made his second movie, “Champion,” which was directed by Mark Robson and starred Kirk Douglas as an ambitious prizefighter in the corrupt world of boxing.
In 1949, Kramer started his own production company so that he could work with other big movie studios, especially “Columbia Pictures,” on projects together.
In 1950, he made the movie “The Men,” which was directed by Fred Zimmerman and was about the problems a disabled war veteran, played by Marlon Brando, had to deal with.
In 1951, he did an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” which was also a hit.
In 1952, his western “High Noon” was nominated for seven “Academy Awards.”
In 1953, he made the strange fantasy movie “5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”
The Wild One (1953), with Marlon Brando as a sad biker, and The Caine Mutiny (1954), with Humphrey Bogart, were both big hits.
Not as a Stranger, which starred Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and Olivia de Havilland, was Kramer’s first movie as a director. It came out in 1955.
In 1957, he directed the movie “The Pride and the Passion,” which starred Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren.
In 1958, he made the movie “The Defiant Ones,” which was another hit. Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier played prisoners who got out of jail and had to deal with racism.
Nevil Shute’s novel about a nuclear war inspired his next movie, “On the Beach,” which came out in 1959 and starred Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins, and Fred Astaire.
In 1960, he made “Inherit the Wind,” which was a big hit. It was based on a Broadway play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee. It was led by Spencer Tracy and Fredric March.
In 1961, he put Spencer Tracy back in “Judgment at Nuremberg.” It was based on the story of how Nazi war criminals were tried in court.
He tried his hand at comedies like “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in 1963 with comedians like Sid Caesar, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Jonathan Winters, and Milton Berle.
In 1965, he made a play called “Ship of Fools” that was based on a book by Katherine Anne Porter about how Nazism and anti-Semitism spread.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which came out in 1967, was his most popular movie. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn were in it, and it was nominated for 10 Oscars.
In 1969, he was in charge of “The Secret of Santa Vittoria.” During the Second World War, some Italian villagers tried to hide a stash of wine bottles from the Germans.
The movies “Bless the Beast and Children” (1972) and “R.P.M.” (1970) did not do well.
In 1973, he made “Oklahoma Crude,” which starred George C. Scott and Faye Dunaway.
In 1974 and 1975, he made two TV movies about the “My Lai Massacre” during the Vietnam War called “Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg” and “Judgment: The Court-Martial of Lieutenant William Calley.”
Kramer went back to the big screen with “The Domino Principle” in 1977 and “The Runner Stumbles” with Dick Van Dyke in 1979. Both of these movies did not do well at the box office.
He stopped directing movies in 1980 and later taught filmmaking at the University of Washington and Bellevue Community College.
Works of note
In 1997, Stanley Kramer wrote a book called “A Mad Mad Mad Mad World: A Life in Hollywood.”
Awards & Achievements
Stanley Kramer was nominated for his first “Academy Award” for “Best Director” for the 1958 movie “The Defiant Ones.”
With “Judgment at Nuremberg” in 1961, he was nominated for the “Academy Award for Best Director” again. Even though he didn’t win the Oscar, the “Academy” gave him the “Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award” for making good movies.
In 1967, for the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” he was nominated for his third “Academy Award for Best Director.”
In 1968, he was given the “Gallatin Medal” by “New York University.”
In 1998, he won the “NAACP Vanguard Award” for movies with strong social themes.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1945, he married Marilyn Erskine, but after three months, the marriage was thrown out.
In 1950, he married Anne Pearce, but they split up in 1963. From this marriage, he had a daughter named Casey and a son named Larry.
On September 1, 1966, he married Karen Sharpe, who stayed with him until his death in 2001. He had two girls from this marriage: Katharine and Jennifer.
Stanley Kramer died on February 19, 2001, in Woodland Hills, which is near Los Angeles, California. He was 87 years old.
The “Producers Guild of America” started giving out the “Stanley Kramer Award” to great filmmakers every year in 2002.
Estimated Net worth
Stanley is one of the wealthiest Directors and is on the list of the most well-known Directors. Based on what we found on Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Stanley Kramer is worth about $20 million.
Stanley Kramer was known as a “message filmmaker” for his whole career.