Having the screenplay of the greatest Western of all time as your magnum opus is pretty grand as it is, but to claim a further ten scripts written for John Ford is as sweet as can be.
Born in New York City in 1908, Frank S. Nugent studied journalism at Columbia University, after which he began his career as a news reporter with The New York Times in 1929. A few years later, he started writing film reviews and he became known for his witty, ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ style, his reviews subsequently gaining a lot of attention – do check them out, if you get the chance! In the early 1940s, his review of John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940) led Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck to offer him a job as a script editor. However, in 1944, he was terminted, and three years later, while working on a article about The Fugitive (1947), he met John Ford, whom he greatly admired, on the set and was hired to write Fort Apache (1948) for him. He ended up writing eleven scripts for Ford, including 3 Godfathers (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Quiet Man (1952), which won him the Writers Guild of America award for Best Comedy as well as a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination, Mister Roberts (1955), for which he won his second WAG award for Comedy, and The Searchers (1956), which is widely regarded as one of the greatest screenplays of all time and indeed one of the greatest movies in cinema history. Nugent went on to serve as the President of the Writers Guild of America, West in the late 1950s and in 1965, he died from a heart attack at the age of 57.