Julius J. Epstein and his twin brother Philip G. were born on August 22, 1909 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, New York. Julius and Philip both graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 1931, where they were champions in boxing; Julius became an NCAA Bantamweight Champion
After college, the Epstein’s went to Hollywood, hoping to work in the movies. They became successful screenwriters and began collaborating in 1939. They were noted for their Academy Award-winning Casablanca, written together with Howard Koch and the uncredited Casey Robinson. They became the first twins to be awarded Oscars when they won in the writing category for Casablanca (1942).
Jack L. Warner, head of Warner Brothers, had a tortuous relationship with the Epstein twins. While he could not argue with their commercial acumen, he deplored their pranks, their work habits and the hours they kept. In 1952, Warner gave their names to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). They never testified before the committee, but on a HUAC questionnaire, when asked if they ever were members of a “subversive organization,” they responded, “Yes. Warner Brothers.”
In 1944, the Epstein brothers attempted their first film in the capacity of both writers and producers with “Mr. Skeffington.” The picture was a box-office success and won both Bette Davis and Claude Rains Oscar nominations. After leaving Warner Bros. in 1948, the Epstein brothers wrote five more screenplays together, two of which, The Last Time I Saw Paris and The Brothers Karamazov, were released after Philip Epstein’s death from cancer in 1952.
Here are our five favorite movies from Screenwriters Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein:
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