Philip Dunne Biography

Philip Ives Dunne (February 11, 1908 – June 2, 1992) was a Hollywood screenwriter, film director and producer, who worked prolifically from 1932 until 1965. He spent the majority of his career at 20th Century Fox crafting well regarded romantic and historical dramas, usually adapted from another medium. Dunne was a leading Screen Writers Guild organizer and was politically active during the "Hollywood Blacklist" episode of the 1940s-1950s. He is best known for the films How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), The Robe (1953) and The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965).

Dunne was born in New York City, the son of Chicago syndicated columnist Finley Peter Dunne and Margaret Ives (Abbott) Dunne, the daughter of the Chicago Tribune's book reviewer and novelist, Mary Ives Abbott.

Although a Roman Catholic, he attended Middlesex School (1920–1925) and Harvard University (1925–1929). Immediately after graduation, he boarded a train for Hollywood. His first screenplay (uncredited) was Me and My Gal, released in 1932. His first credited screenplay was The Count of Monte Cristo, released in 1934. After working for various studios, he moved to 20th Century Fox in 1937, where he would remain for 25 years (excepting 4 years civilian war service during World War II), scripting 36 films in total and directing 10. He also produced several of his later films.

Dunne was a co-founder of the Screen Writers Guild and served as vice-president of its successor, the Writers Guild of America from 1938 to 1940. He later served on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) from 1946 to 1948.

Before World War II, he was a member of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, a group founded in May 1940 that advocated military materiel aid to Britain as the best way to keep the United States out of the war.

From 1942 to 1945, Dunne was the Chief of Production for the Motion Picture Bureau, U.S. Office of War Information, Overseas Branch. Notably, he produced the non-fiction short The Town (1944), directed by Josef von Sternberg, which has received some critical acclaim.

In 1947, he co-founded the Committee for the First Amendment to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee's (HUAC) investigation of Communist influence in Hollywood. He appeared before HUAC with other Hollywood figures in a well publicized meeting in October 1947.

Dunne married the former Amanda Duff on July 13, 1939. They had three children, Miranda, Philippa, and Jessica.

In 1980, he published his memoirs, Take Two: A Life in Movies and Politics.

Dunne died of cancer on June 2, 1992, in Malibu, California, aged 84.