Wolf Mankowitz Biography (1924-1998)

Born November 7 (one source says July 11), 1924, in Whitechapel, London, England; died of cancer, May 20, 1998, in County Cork, Ireland. Professor, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Mankowitz made his living writing buthis father, an antiques dealer, had instilled in him a love for antiques. Asa result, Mankowitz became an expert on porcelain and his two interests cametogether when he wrote Wedgwood, a handbook on porcelain. His first novel, Make Me an Offer, was the result of his knowledge about the porcelain business and related to the travels of a Wedgwood dealer who wanted a replica of the Portland Vase. That book was published in 1952 and was made into a film and later produced as a musical in the West End.

The 1950s were a successful decade for Mankowitz. His 1953 publication, AKid for Two Farthings, the story of a poor boy and his magical goat, wasa hit and eventually adapted as a film. The film version of his novel TheBespoke Overcoat won an Academy Award in 1956 for best short subject. Mankowitz had success as a screenwriter as well, writing screenplays for TheMillionairess, Casino Royale, Black Beauty, House of Fright, and HenryVIII. Mankowitz continued to write in the 1960s, turning out books suchas The Biggest Pig in Barbados: A Fable and Cockatrice and plays including Pickwick, which was based on the Charles Dickens novel The Pickwick Papers, and Passion Flower Hotel, based on the novel by Rosalind Erskine.

In 1971 his only collection of poetry, 12 Poems, was published. Aroundthat time he moved to Ireland, which was known for its artist-friendly approach to taxes. Although he remained a resident there, Mankowitz traveled extensively. His publication output decreased in the 1970s, mostly due to poor health. Financial woes also plagued him and after years of battling England's Inland Revenue department, he declared himself bankrupt in 1981. The next yearMankowitz was named adjunct professor of English at the University of New Mexico. He remained at that position for six years and during that time also served as adjunct theater arts professor. Wolf continued writing until 1991 whenhe announced he had terminal cancer. His last book, A Night with Casanova, was published at that time and recounted a conversation between Casanova, who only had one year to live, and the Wandering Jew who was destined to live forever.

professor, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, poet
Birth Details
November 7, 1924
London, England
Death Details
May 20, 1998
County Cork, Ireland

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