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Robert Pirosh
Born(1910-04-01)April 1, 1910
DiedDecember 25, 1989(1989-12-25) (aged 79)
Alma materBaltimore City College high school in 1928
Occupation(s)Director, Writer, Screenwriter
Years active1935-1981
Spouse(s)Nancy Wilson (1948-1966) 3 children Judge Michael Pirosh, Steve Pirosh, Ruthie Pirosh
Benadene Frances Crawford (1974-1989), step daughter Christine Crawford, granddaughter Emery McGarvin Fitzgerald [1]

Robert Pirosh (April 1, 1910 – December 25, 1989) was an American motion picture and television screenwriter and director.[2]

Early years

Pirosh was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from the Baltimore City College high school in 1928. His preparation for a career in Hollywood included study at the Sorbonne in France and the University of Berlin in Germany.[3] When he began looking for work in Hollywood, he used a cover letter that began "Dear Sir, I like words" and concluded,

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. I have just returned and I still like words. May I have a few with you?[4]

The letter later featured in the book Letters of Note and in 2014 was described by its editor, Shaun Usher, as his "current favorite".[4]


Pirosh began his film career in 1934 as a junior writer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, working with fellow newcomer George Seaton. The two collaborated on the Marx Brothers' 1935 comedy A Night at the Opera and their next film, A Day at the Races, in 1937. He and Delmer Daves adapted Ayn Rand's Night of January 16th for a 1941 film of the same name directed by William Clemens. In 1942 he collaborated on the screwball comedy Rings on Her Fingers for Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney.

Pirosh served in World War II as a Master Sergeant with the 320th Regiment, 35th Infantry Division. He saw action in the Ardennes and Rhineland campaigns. During the Battle of the Bulge, he led a patrol into Bastogne to support the American forces surrounded there.

He earned an Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay in 1949 for his script for the World War II drama Battleground, a film he also produced, that was the first based on the Ardennes battle. His work was also honored in other venues that year. Pirosh won the Golden Globe and the Writers Guild of America awards.[5]

In 1951, he was nominated for another Academy Award for the screenplay Go for Broke!. This was his directorial debut. He would go on to write the story for the highly regarded Steve McQueen World War II film Hell Is for Heroes, directed by Don Siegel, believed[citation needed] to be the basis for TV's Combat! (which he created). He also directed 1954's Valley of the Kings and 1955's The Girl Rush.

Pirosh wrote the episode "The Man From Leadville" for the 1976 CBS western television series Sara.

Selected works


  1. ^ "Billboard". 1948-02-14.
  2. ^ "Robert Pirosh, 79, Veteran of Combat and Author, Is Dead," New York Times. December 31, 1989.
  3. ^ Robert Pirosh; "Movies," New York Times online.
  4. ^ a b "'Letters Of Note' Finds Lessons In Candid Correspondence". All Things Considered. NPR. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  5. ^ Niemi, Robert. (2006). History in the Media: Film and Television, p. 85.