Ernest Lehman, 1915––2005

Just heard that screenwriter Ernest Lehman has passed away at the age of 89.

Lehman was, of course, the writer of one of my all-time favorite films — and inspiration for the Tohubohu team names “Kaplan” and “Thornhill” — North by Northwest (I still remember his insightful commentary on the DVD edition of the movie). Sure, the movie’s more often remembered as a Hitchcock picture, or maybe a Cary Grant vehicle, but next time you see it, pay careful attention to the dialogue — this is some of the wittiest stuff Hollywood ever produced. I actually used a scene from the picture in an acting class back in college. Never honored with an Oscar win, Lehman was nominated six times (four times as a writer, twice as a producer), and in 2001 was awarded an honorary statue.

Good-bye, Professor. Thanks for helping us make sense of this whole alphabet soup.