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William Wellman Jr.
William Wellman Jr.


NYS Writers Institute, May 1, 2015
7:30 p.m. Reading and discussion on the work of film director William Wellman | Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus


William Wellman, Jr., actor and author, will read from and discuss Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel (2015), a new biography of his father, director William A. Wellman, a giant of the motion picture industry from the Silent Era to the 1950s, on Monday May 1, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. [note early start time] in Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, on the University at Albany downtown campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Wild Bill WellmanPROFILE
William Wellman, Jr. is the author of Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel (2015), a biography of his father, William A. Wellman, legendary Hollywood director from the Silent Era to the 1950s. Wellman’s 82 films include history’s first Academy Award winner for Best Picture, WINGS (1927), as well as such iconic films as THE PUBLIC ENEMY (1931), NOTHING SACRED (1937), A STAR IS BORN (1937), BEAU GESTE (1939),  THE OX-BOW INCIDENT(1943), THE STORY OF G. I. JOE (1945), YELLOW SKY (1948), and THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954). Wellman’s films display a remarkable range of styles and interests, and helped to shape a variety of American movie genres, from the gangster film, to the screwball comedy, to the Western, to the war movies.

Based on a vast trove of never-before-published archival and personal materials, the new biography draws upon letters, diaries, notes, and the elder Wellman’s own unfinished autobiography in order to provide the first full portrait of the man. Kirkus Reviews said, “A star-studded homage to a prolific director . . . loving, abundantly detailed . . . Wellman worked with megastars and studio moguls, all portrayed here in lively detail . . . A rich, exuberant life, well-captured in this exuberant biography.”

Writing in advance praise, Hollywood biographer Stephen M. Silverman said, “Movies are meant to move, and William Wellman’s work demonstrates this in an exemplary fashion. This welcome new biography, Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, briskly and objectively told by his son, does nothing to tame the reputation of the prodigious filmmaker who battled studio head Darryl Zanuck not only verbally in the front office but also with his fists in the field. A Boston Brahmin by birth but a brawler by practice, Wellman remains one of the few Golden Age Hollywood figures still richly deserving of the title: Iconic. A terrific read.”

A notable character actor in his own right, William Wellman Jr. appeared in the films STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN (2008), three of the BILLY JACK sequels (1974, 1977 and 1986), IT’S ALIVE (1973), BLACK CAESAR (1972), BORN LOSERS (1967), and A SWINGIN’ SUMMER (1965). He also had roles in two of his father’s war movies, LAFAYETTE ESCADRILLE and DARBY’S RANGERS (both 1958). His TV credits include the classic Western shows, Have Gun, Will Travel, Rawhide, Laramie, and Gunsmoke, as well as CSI, Alias, JAG, The Practice, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Pretender, Beverly Hills, 90210, Charlie’s Angels, Dallas, and Marcus Welby, MD.

During the course of the Spring 2015 semester, the New York State Writers Institute presented the WILLIAM A. WELLMAN FILM FESTIVAL. The series featured five examples of the legendary Hollywood director’s best work.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.