Clifford Odets Headshot

Clifford Odets

Date of Death: August 18, 1963 (57)

Birth Place: Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Clifford Odets BIO

Clifford Odets was an American playwright, screenwriter, and director born in Philadelphia in 1906. He is best known for his socially conscious plays that depicted the struggles of working-class characters in America. Odets' work was heavily influenced by the Great Depression, and his plays often explored themes of poverty, class struggle, and the American Dream.

Odets began his career as an actor, performing with the Group Theatre in New York City in the 1930s. He soon turned to writing, and his first play, "Waiting for Lefty," was produced by the Group Theatre in 1935. The play was a critical and commercial success, and it established Odets as a major voice in American theater.

Odets continued to write plays throughout the 1930s and 1940s, including "Awake and Sing!" (1935), "Golden Boy" (1937), and "Rocket to the Moon" (1938). His plays often featured strong, complex characters and tackled difficult social issues. "Awake and Sing!" explored the struggles of a Jewish family living in poverty during the Great Depression, while "Golden Boy" examined the corrupting influence of money and fame.

In addition to his work in the theater, Odets also wrote screenplays for Hollywood films. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for "The Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), which he co-wrote with Ernest Lehman. Odets also directed several films, including "None but the Lonely Heart" (1944), which starred Cary Grant.

Odets' career was interrupted by his involvement in left-wing politics during the 1940s and 1950s. He was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952 and was blacklisted from the entertainment industry. Odets' work during this period was limited to writing for television, including episodes of "The Colgate Comedy Hour" and "Studio One."

Despite the setbacks he faced during the McCarthy era, Odets continued to write for the theater. His later plays, including "The Country Girl" (1950) and "The Flowering Peach" (1954), were less politically charged than his earlier work but still dealt with themes of family, love, and redemption.

Clifford Odets died of stomach cancer in 1963 at the age of 57. His legacy as a playwright and screenwriter continues to be celebrated today, and his work remains an important part of American theater history. Overall, Odets' contributions to the theater helped to shape the course of American drama in the 20th century, and his work continues to inspire and challenge audiences to this day.

Clifford Odets STAGE CREDITS

[Broadway]
1935
Dr. Benjamin

[Broadway]
1934
Burns

Jolais

[Broadway]
1933
Mr. Houghton

[Broadway]
1933
Andrey Brikin

[Broadway]
1933
Eugene

[Broadway]
1932
Mateo

[Broadway]
1931
Performer

[Broadway]
1930
Arthur Weldon

[Broadway]
1930
Sbirri

Clifford Odets Productions

 
[Off-Broadway, 2015]
Writer
 
[Broadway, 1954]
Director
 
[Broadway, 1952]
Director
 
[Broadway, 1950]
Director
Producer
 
[Broadway, 1935]
Director
 
[Broadway, 1935]
Director

Writing

Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Playwright
Source Material
Bookwriter
Source Material
Source Material

Clifford Odets Movies

[1936]The General Died at Dawn writer

[1938]Blockade writer

[1939]Golden Boy writer

[1944]None But the Lonely Heart writer

[1946]Deadline at Dawn writer

[1946]Humoresque writer

[1952]Clash by Night writer

[1954]The Country Girl writer

[1955]The Big Knife writer

[1957]Sweet Smell of Success writer

[1959]The Story on Page One writer

[1961]Wild in the Country writer

Clifford Odets Awards and Nominations

Clifford Odets News


The Young Company at Cape Rep Theatre Presents DEAD END & WAITING FOR LEFTY

The Young Company at Cape Rep Theatre (YoCo) and program director Maura Hanlon are thrilled to present two exciting American classics, Dead End by Sidney Kingsley and Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets; Friday, February 9 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, February 10 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm.

Tim Daly, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Lea Delaria, and More Will Lead THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA Off-Broadway

​​​​​​​La Femme Theatre Productions will illuminate the Off-Broadway stage this season with an evocative 21 st century production of Tennessee Williams's timeless masterpiece, The Night of the Iguana.

Tim Daly, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Lea DeLaria & More to Star in THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA at La Femme Theatre Productions

La Femme Theatre Productions has revealed the full cast of Tennessee Williams's 'The Night of the Iguana' directed by Emily Mann.

André Bishop Will Step Down as Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater

Bishop has served as Producing Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater since July 2013, and first joined the organization as Artistic Director in January 1992.  His departure in June 2025 will coincide with the close of Lincoln Center Theater’s 40th anniversary season.

Aniello Fontano Awarded 2023 Clifford Odets Commission

Award-winning playwright Aniello Fontana has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Clifford Odets Ensemble Play Commission. This article explores how the commission, in collaboration with The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and The Lee Strasberg Creative Center, is supporting emerging playwrights and directors.

Cast Set for Red Bull Theater 2023 Short New Play Festival

Red Bull Theater has revealed the cast for the eight world premieres selected for the company’s 13th annual Short New Play Festival.

Red Bull Theater Reveals Short New Play Festival 2023 Winning Submissions

Red Bull Theater has announced the eight world premieres selected for the company’s 13th annual Short New Play Festival.

The Actors Studio to Present AREYTO Celebration of Latine Scene Work, Poetry, Song & Dance

This weekend, The Actors Studio will continue its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights.

ON THE FLY 2023: THEN & NOW to be Presented at The Actors Studio This Weekend

This weekend, The Actors Studio continues its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights.

The Actors Studio to Host Events Featuring Lois Smith & Celebrations of BIPOC Membership in May

In May, The Actors Studio will continue its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights.

The Drama League Names 2023 Directors Project Recipients

The Drama League has announced the fourteen exceptional stage directors receiving the fellowships, assistantships, and residencies of the 2023 Drama League Directors Project.

The Actors Studio to Present Three Day Celebration of Estelle Parsons

The Actors Studio will continue its 75th Anniversary celebration with a three-day celebration of one of its most influential members, Academy Award winner and Co-Associate Artistic Director of The Actors Studio, Estelle Parsons.

The Actors Studio to Present THE PLAYWRIGHT: TALES FROM THE COLOR LINE This Spring

Continuing  its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights The Actors Studio will open its doors to the public for a special event, free and open to the public: The Playwright: Tales From The Color Line on Saturday, March 25 at 7PM.

Cast & Creatives Set for Hansol Jung's ROMEO AND JULIET at Two River Theater

A World Premiere modern verse translation of Shakespeare’s ode to young love hits the stage at Two River Theater from April 8 – April 30, 2023. 

The Actors Studio to Welcome the Public to Free Events, Including Play Readings & More

This Spring, The Actors Studio continues its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights.

The Actors Studio to Welcome the Public Inside its Doors for ACTORS STUDIO IN PROCESS

 The Actors Studio will open its doors to the public to observe “Actors Studio In Process” on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4 at 7PM.

Chazz Palminteri, Bobby Moresco & More to be Featured in The Actors Studio February Events

In February, The Actors Studio will continue its 75th Anniversary celebration as the world’s most celebrated and influential membership association for professional actors, directors and playwrights.

Len Cariou to Lead ZAGLADA Staged Reading at Theatre at St. Clement's

Theatre at St. Clement’s to present a one night only staged reading of Zaglada, a new play by Richard Vetere, directed by Dan Wackerman at Theatre at St. Clement’s on Monday, January 23 at 7pm. Admission is free.

Quintessence Theatre Group Presents Clifford Odets' WAITING FOR LEFTY, January 18- February 18

Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia's professional classic theatre, continues Season XIII: Celebrating the Extraordinary with Clifford Odets' American classic Waiting For Lefty. Directed by Kyle Haden, Waiting For Lefty remains an incendiary and revolutionary play about the growing pains of labor in capitalist America, and starts previews January 18, with an Opening Night Saturday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Cast and Creative Team Announced for for 'Porchlight Revisits' I AM A CAMERA

Porchlight Music Theatre is continuing its 2022 - 2023 season with Porchlight Revisits I am a Camera, book by John Van Druten, directed by Nate Cohen+. Porchlight Revisits I am a Camera is presented for two performances only Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 9 at 1:30 p.m.

Clifford Odets FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Clifford Odets has appeared on Broadway in 9 shows.

Clifford Odets has not appeared in the West End

Clifford Odets has been nominated for the following awards: Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play (Drama League Awards) for Awake and Sing! and Outstanding Revival of a Play (Drama Desk Awards) for Awake and Sing.

Clifford Odets has won the Outstanding Revival of a Play (Drama Desk Awards) for Awake and Sing.

Clifford Odets has written 15 shows including Till the Day I Die (Playwright), Waiting For Lefty (Playwright), Paradise Lost (Playwright), Golden Boy (Playwright), Rocket to the Moon (Playwright), Night Music (Playwright), Clash by Night (Playwright), The Big Knife (Playwright), The Flowering Peach (Playwright), Golden Boy (Source Material), Winter Journey (Playwright), Two By Two (Source Material), Sweet Smell of Success (Source Material), Awake and Sing! (Playwright), The Country Girl (Playwright).

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