Jay Dratler (September 14, 1910 – September 25, 1968) was an American screenwriter and novelist.[1][2]


Born in New York City to a mother originally from Austria, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1920s, then studied at the Sorbonne in France and the University of Vienna,[3] achieving fluency in French and German.[1]

After his return to the United States in 1932, he worked as an editor for a New York publisher and translated the books Goya and Zeppelin from German to English.[1] He then moved to Hollywood, becoming a successful novelist and rising to prominence as a screenwriter during the classic era of film noir in the 1940s. He wrote six novels, many screenplays and more than twenty television scripts.[1] He won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Call Northside 777, and was an Oscar nominee for the 1944 film noir, Laura. The 1948 film noir, Pitfall, was based on Dratler's novel of the same title.

Later in life, Dratler became conversant in Spanish, moving to Mexico in the 1960s.[3] Dratler died of a heart attack in 1968 at the British-American Hospital in Mexico City. His body was returned to New York.[2] He was survived by his widow, Berenice, and their two children, a daughter and son. The latter, Jay Dratler Jr., became a professor at the University of Akron School of Law,[3] specializing in intellectual property law.[4]





Dratler's films as screenwriter, often with collaborators, include:



  1. ^ a b c d "Jay Dratler, Screenwriter, Dies in Mexico" (8 Oct 1968) Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ a b "Jay Dratler Dies; Wrote for Screen" (October 16, 1968) New York Times
  3. ^ a b c Jay Dratler collected news and commentary at The New York Times
  4. ^ "Retirement celebration to honor Jay Dratler Jr." (December 1, 2009) The Digest, University of Akron Archived September 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Manhattan Side Street (1936) Longmans, Green and Co., New York
  6. ^ The Judas Kiss (1955) Henry Holt and Co., New York
  7. ^ "Movies" (June 05, 1940) New York Times
  8. ^ "Movie Review - Meet Boston Blackie - At the Rialto" (February 26, 1941) New York Times
  9. ^ " 'The Wife Takes a Flyer', a Labored Farce Film, With Joan Bennett and Franchot Tone, at the Capitol" (June 19, 1942) New York Times
  10. ^ "Bosley Crowther" (January 22, 1944) New York Times
  11. ^ "Movie Review" (June 11, 1945) New York Times
  12. ^ "Movie Review - That Wonderful Urge" (December 22, 1948) New York Times
  13. ^ "Screen: About von Braun; I Aim at the Stars Opens at the Forum" (October 20, 1960) New York Times
  14. ^ "John Ireland and John Saxon will co-star in the nation premiere of 'A Grape for Seeing' " (June 18, 1965) San Mateo Times, San Mateo, California
  15. ^ "Cornell Pledges Aid for Theater" (May 11, 1966) New York Times