The Academy to Fete Director Robert Benton in NYC

Beverly Hills, CA (May 25, 2011) - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the career of Oscar®-winning writer and director Robert Benton on Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City.  Hosted by novelist and screenwriter Richard Russo (Nobody’s Fool, “Twilight,” “The Ice Harvest”), the tribute will feature film clips, remarks from colleagues and an onstage conversation with Benton.  Special guests include composer Howard Shore, producers Arlene Donovan and Stanley Jaffe, and actress Margo Martindale.

Born and raised in Waxahachie, Texas, Benton earned his B.F.A. 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 at 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 earned 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 “Places in the Heart,” for which he also earned a directing nomination.  He was nominated again in 1994 for “Nobody’s Fool,” a screenplay he adapted from the novel by Richard Russo.   

Tickets for “An Academy Tribute to Robert Benton” are $5 for the general public and $3 for students with a valid ID.  Tickets will be available for purchase only on   beginning on Thursday, May 26, at 10 a.m. ET.  There is a two ticket limit for this event.

The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street (between Park and Lexington avenues) in New York City.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  For more information, please email

Contact Information

For more information, contact

Teni Melidonian

Harvey Bolgla

Sara Trujillo

Don't Show Again