Special New York Event
An Academy Tribute to Robert Benton
Hosted by novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo.
The Academy presents a special evening celebrating the career of writer, director and producer Robert Benton. Hosted by novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo (Nobody’s Fool, “Twilight,” “The Ice Harvest”), the tribute will include film clips, video highlights and a one-on-one conversation with the guest of honor, three-time Academy Award winner Robert Benton.
Benton, born and raised in Waxahachie, Texas, earned his BFA degree from the University of Texas and moved to New York to pursue a graduate degree at Columbia University. He started out at Esquire magazine as an assistant to the art director before being drafted into the Army and stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. After his discharge, he returned to Esquire and was soon promoted to art director. While with the magazine, he co-authored The IN and OUT Book with Harvey Schmidt. In 1966, It’s a Bird…It's a Plane…It's Superman, a musical co-written by Benton and David Newman, opened on Broadway. A year later the duo garnered an Academy Award nomination for their first screenplay, “Bonnie and Clyde.”
Benton and Newman then went under contract to Warner Bros., collaborating on “There Was a Crooked Man” (1970) and “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972). Benton made his feature directorial debut with “Bad Company” (1972) starring Jeff Bridges; a few years later, he earned his second Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for “The Late Show” (1977) starring Art Carney and Lily Tomlin.
In 1978, Benton teamed with Newman, Newman's wife Leslie, and Mario Puzo on the screenplay for the box office hit “Superman,” starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando and Margot Kidder. His next project, “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), won the Best Picture award and earned Benton two Oscars, for Writing and Directing. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep also earned Oscars for their lead and supporting performances, respectively.
Benton’s third Oscar came in 1984 for his screenplay for a film he also directed, “Places in the Heart.” He was nominated again in 1994 for “Nobody’s Fool,” a screenplay he adapted from a novel by Richard Russo. His other films include “Billy Bathgate” (1991), “The Human Stain” (2003) and most recently “Feast of Love” (2007), featuring an ensemble cast including Morgan Freeman and Jane Alexander.
- Thursday, June 2, 7 p.m.
- Academy Theater at Lighthouse International
11 East 59th Street, New York, NY
(between Park and Lexington)