Known for movies

Short Info

DiedFebruary 19, 2001, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseKaren Sharpe, Anne P. Kramer, Marilyn Erskine
FactNYU, Kramer's alma mater, awarded him its prestigious Gallatin Medal in 1968. The award honors persons whose accomplishments are of "lasting significance to society." Three of its previous eleven recipients were Dr. Jonas Salk, Ralph Bunche, and C. Douglas Dillon.

Stanley Kramer was an American film director and producer, responsible for some of Hollywood’s most famous “message films”. He was born on September 29, 1913, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of German Jewish immigrants. His father worked as a theater manager and his mother was a piano teacher. Kramer’s first job in the film industry was as a messenger boy at Warner Bros. studios. He later worked as an assistant director and editor before making his directorial debut with the 1949 film The Men.

Kramer’s most famous films include The Defiant Ones (1958), which earned him an Academy Award for Best Director, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), for which he was nominated for another Oscar. He was also known for his social commentary films such as Inherit the Wind (1960) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Kramer’s films often tackled controversial subjects and featured an ensemble cast of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Kramer was married three times and had four children. His first marriage, to Mary Duvall, ended in divorce after just two years. His second marriage, to actress Karen Sharpe, lasted from 1957 until her death in 2008. Kramer had two children with Sharpe: Katrine and Christopher. His third marriage was to actress Jane Mansfield, with whom he had one child, Stanley Jr.

Kramer died on February 19, 2001, at the age of 87.

General Info

Full NameStanley Kramer
DiedFebruary 19, 2001, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
ProfessionActor, Film director, Film producer
EducationNew York University, DeWitt Clinton High School


SpouseKaren Sharpe, Anne P. Kramer, Marilyn Erskine
ChildrenKat Kramer, Jennifer Kramer, Casey Kramer


AwardsGolden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Golden Bear, PGA David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures, David ...
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Picture, Academy Award for Best Director, Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, BAFTA Award for Best Film, Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film, Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding
MoviesGuess Who's Coming to Dinner, Judgment at Nuremberg, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, On the Beach, Ship of Fools, High Noon, The Pride and the Passion, Not as a Stranger, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, Bless the Beasts and Children, The Wild One, The Caine Mutiny,...
TV ShowsSomething a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to 'It's a Mad Mad Mad

Social profile links


1During the filming of Mad World with all the comedians, I think Spencer Tracy was in poorer health than I (believed): he had bad colour and no stamina whatever. But then, even though this lack of energy showed, I think he had his best time ever during the making of a film. The comedians worshipped him. Never before or since has a king had a court full of jesters who strove only to entertain him so that his majesty might say, 'That was funny,' or just laugh and smile. Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silvers, Mickey Rooney - even the silent Sid Caesar - crowded about him and vied for his affection. They had it. And he talked about them to the very last; he loved them all.
2[on studio chiefs and backers who wanted him to soften his message (1960 interview)] I take a very reluctant and conservative view on what a single film can do in affecting our lives. I don't make films to stir the world. I am not conscious of a responsibility to society or even to my own social consciousness when I make a film. My motivation can be as simple as saying, gee, this would make an exciting picture.
3[in 1949] I firmly believe that the independent producer today can select material which will return vitality to the motion picture industry. I think people are completely fed up with the pattern. The independent has simply got to destroy that pattern. If our industry is to flourish, we must break away from formula thinking.
4[on some of the directors who emerged in the 60's (1968)] The put-on leads to the adoration of technique. The nouvelle vague, the neo-realists and the angry young men have opened the gates to interrupted dialogue, mismatching, jump cuts, super-imposures, split screens and the camera as primary weapon in the director's bag. Technique covers a multitude of sins.
5(On Roosevelt's New Deal) That all probably as profound an influence on me as any event on which I can base the things I believe in; my attitudes regarding the blacks; the freedom of teachers; world guilt and sectarian prejudice. I never became any kind of evangelist because of those beliefs, but I tried to translate the drama of them into film.
6[on working with Montgomery Clift during the filming of Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)]. He was a total wreck at this point. He kept stumbling and forgetting his lines during take after take. Finally I said to him: "Just forget the damn lines, Monty. Let's say you're on the witness stand. The prosecutor says something to you, then the defence attorney bitterly attacks you... and you have to reach for a word in the script. That's all right. Go ahead and reach for it. Whatever the word may be, it doesn't really matter. Just turn to [Spencer] Tracy on the bench whenever you feel the need, and ad lib something. It will be all right because it will convey the confusion in your character's mind." He seemed to calm down after this. He wasn't always close to the script, but whatever he said fitted in perfectly, and he came through with as good a performance as I had hoped.
7[on Sidney Poitier] Sidney has a greatness and professionalism and a deep, deep sensitivity. He's an absolutely beautiful man inside and out.
8[on Ava Gardner] She can read a script and immediately give you a completely lucid explanation of its merits and faults.
9[on Katharine Hepburn] The most completely thorough, driving, constantly seeking actress with whom I'm been associated. She's never really satisfied; she never stops thinking about what she's doing and about what everybody else is doing. She is a marvelous woman who has a capacity for many emotional areas and she has great talent. She can trigger an emotional truth at precisely the right time. I don't know what she draws on; it's a deep, deep well.
10If I am to be remembered for anything I have done in this profession, I would like it to be for the four films in which I directed Spencer Tracy.
11[on Lee Marvin] I'm not his psychiatrist. I don't know whether he has one or needs one. I'm only saying that to understand him, one needs help.
12[on Humphrey Bogart] He was playing Bogart all the time, but he was really just a big sloppy bowl of mush.
13I'm always pursuing the next dream, hunting for the next truth.


1He died of complications from pneumonia at the Motion Picture Home, in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.
2NYU, Kramer's alma mater, awarded him its prestigious Gallatin Medal in 1968. The award honors persons whose accomplishments are of "lasting significance to society." Three of its previous eleven recipients were Dr. Jonas Salk, Ralph Bunche, and C. Douglas Dillon.
3His films Home of the Brave (1949) and Champion (1949) were the only two major box office hits United Artists had in 1949.
4Served in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, making training films. He finished the war with the rank of first lieutenant.
5His mother worked as a secretary for Paramount. One of his uncles worked in distribution for Universal.
6After graduating De Witt Clinton High School, he attended New York University, graduating with a degree in business administration. His articles for a university publication won him a contract as junior writer at 20th Century Fox, earning $70 a week. For the next fourteen years, he worked as a scriptwriter/researcher at Fox, Republic and Columbia; as set dresser, researcher and editor at MGM and as associate producer for Loew-Lewin. Formed his own production company in 1947, in conjunction with Carl Foreman and George Glass. Under contract as director at United Artists (1955-63) and Columbia (1965-67; 1970-73). Had a reputation for being frugal, working well within his budgetary limitations. Many of his films reflected social or political concerns and were often controversial. He was consequently -- and to his chagrin -- tagged as a "message film maker" and "Hollywood's Conscience".
7After his retirement in 1980, he moved to Seattle, where he wrote a column for the Seattle Times and taught at the University of Washington and Bellevue Community College.
8Was to name his child after Spencer Tracy, but when the baby turned out to be a girl, he named her after Katharine Hepburn. Hepburn was also her godmother.
9After graduating from New York University in 1933, majoring in writing, Kramer accepted an internship in Hollywood as a production assistant. He worked as a set p.a. at several studios from 1933 onward and eventually worked at Universal in the early 1940s as part of the swing gang in the art department.
10Directed 14 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Cara Williams, Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Oskar Werner, Michael Dunn, Simone Signoret, Katharine Hepburn, Cecil Kellaway and Beah Richards. Hepburn and Schell won Oscars for their performances in one of Kramer's movies.
11Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 538-544. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
12Has a street in Berwick, Australia where part of On the Beach (1959) was filmed, named in his honour - Kramer Drive.




Inherit the Wind1960producer
On the Beach1959producer
The Defiant Ones1958producer
The Pride and the Passion1957producer
Not as a Stranger1955producer
The Caine Mutiny1954producer
The Wild One1953producer - uncredited
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.1953producer
The Juggler1953producer
The Member of the Wedding1952producer
Eight Iron Men1952producer
The Happy Time1952producer
The Four Poster1952producer
High Noon1952producer
The Sniper1952producer
My Six Convicts1952producer
Death of a Salesman1951producer
Cyrano de Bergerac1950producer
The Men1950producer
Home of the Brave1949producer
So This Is New York1948producer
The Moon and Sixpence1942associate producer
The Runner Stumbles1979producer
The Domino Principle1977producer
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1975TV Movie producer
Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley1975TV Movie producer
Judgment: The Court Martial of the Tiger of Malaya - General Yamashita1974TV Movie producer
Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg1974TV Movie producer
Oklahoma Crude1973producer
Bless the Beasts & Children1971producer
The Secret of Santa Vittoria1969producer
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1967producer
Ship of Fools1965producer
Ship of Fools World Premiere Party1965TV Movie consulting producer
Invitation to a Gunfighter1964executive producer - uncredited
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World1963producer
A Child Is Waiting1963producer
Pressure Point1962producer
Judgment at Nuremberg1961producer


The Runner Stumbles1979
The Domino Principle1977
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1975TV Movie
Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley1975TV Movie
Judgment: The Court Martial of the Tiger of Malaya - General Yamashita1974TV Movie
Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg1974TV Movie
Oklahoma Crude1973
Bless the Beasts & Children1971
The Secret of Santa Vittoria1969
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner1967
Ship of Fools1965
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World1963
Pressure Point1962framing story, uncredited
Judgment at Nuremberg1961
Inherit the Wind1960
On the Beach1959
The Defiant Ones1958
The Pride and the Passion1957
Not as a Stranger1955


It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World1963presenter
Pressure Point1962presenter
Judgment at Nuremberg1961presenter
Inherit the Wind1960presenter
The Defiant Ones1958presenter
Cyrano de Bergerac1950presenter
Champion1949presenter - uncredited
So Ends Our Night1941production assistant
Flying Down to Rio1933production assistant - uncredited
Lady for a Day1933production assistant - uncredited


Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley1975TV MovieHost
Judgment: The Court Martial of the Tiger of Malaya - General Yamashita1974TV MovieHost
Judgment: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg1974TV MovieHost

Art Department

Return to Peyton Place1972TV Series property master - 1972-1974


Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World'1991TV Movie documentary special thanks
Grace Kelly: The American Princess1987Video documentary thanks
Hollywood and the Stars1963TV Series acknowledgment - 1 episode
Hollywood: The Great Stars1963TV Movie documentary special thanks


American Masters2000TV Series documentaryHimself
Biography1999TV Series documentaryHimself
Humphrey Bogart: You Must Remember This...1997TV Movie documentaryHimself
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Sidney Poitier1992TV SpecialHimself
The Making of 'High Noon'1992Video short documentaryHimself
Something a Little Less Serious: A Tribute to 'It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World'1991TV Movie documentaryHimself
Anthony Quinn: An Original1990TV Movie documentaryHimself
Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond1990TV Movie documentaryHimself
Cary Grant: A Celebration of a Leading Man1988TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Annual ACLU Honors: A Salute to Michael Douglas1987TV MovieHimself
Grace Kelly: The American Princess1987Video documentaryHimself (producer)
The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute by Katharine Hepburn1986TV Special documentaryHimself
Starring Katharine Hepburn1981TV Movie documentaryHimself
Today1979TV SeriesHimself
The Mike Douglas Show1971-1979TV SeriesHimself - Producer / Director / Himself - Director
The 50th Annual Academy Awards1978TV SpecialHimself - Presenter: Thalberg Award
Hollywood Greats1977TV Series documentaryHimself
Tribute to Bogart1972TV Movie documentaryHimself - Interviewee
The David Frost Show1969-1971TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1963-1971TV SeriesHimself - Guest / Himself
This Is Your Life1971TV SeriesHimself
Journey Into Self1969DocumentaryHimself
Sophia: A Self-Portrait1968TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Woody Woodbury Show1968TV SeriesHimself
Bogart1967TV Movie documentaryHimself
Cinema1967TV Series documentaryHimself
Ship of Fools World Premiere Party1965TV MovieHimself
Howard K. Smith1963TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Here's Hollywood1961-1962TV SeriesHimself
What's My Line?1960TV SeriesHimself - Guest Panelist
This Is Your Life1958TV SeriesHimself
The Ed Sullivan Show1954-1955TV SeriesHimself
Erskine Johnson's Hollywood Reel1949TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Maximilian Schell - Ein sehnsüchtiger Rebell2010TV Movie documentaryHimself
Strictly Courtroom2008TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
The 73rd Annual Academy Awards2001TV SpecialHimself - Memorial Tribute
Kleiner Mann ganz groß1994TV Movie documentary uncredited
The Ed Sullivan Show1954TV SeriesHimself


Won Awards

2016OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationCreative
1998King Vidor Memorial AwardSan Luis Obispo International Film Festival
1991Lifetime Achievement Award in Motion PicturesPGA Awards
1973Golden PrizeMoscow International Film FestivalOklahoma Crude (1973)
1971OCIC AwardBerlin International Film FestivalCompetitionBless the Beasts & Children (1971)
1971Interfilm Award - RecommendationBerlin International Film FestivalCompetitionBless the Beasts & Children (1971)
1969UN AwardBAFTA AwardsGuess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1968Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year AwardAmerican Cinema Editors, USA
1968DavidDavid di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign Production (Migliore Produzione Straniera)Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1964Showmanship AwardPublicists Guild of AmericaMotion Picture
1962Irving G. Thalberg Memorial AwardAcademy Awards, USA
1962Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962BodilBodil AwardsBest Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film)Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962DavidDavid di Donatello AwardsBest Foreign Production (Migliore Produzione Straniera)Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962Silver RibbonItalian National Syndicate of Film JournalistsBest Foreign Director (Regista del Miglior Film Straniero)Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1961Special AwardGolden Globes, USAFor Artistic Integrity.
1961Blue Ribbon AwardBlue Ribbon AwardsBest Foreign Language FilmOn the Beach (1959)
1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6100 Hollywood Blvd.
1960UN AwardBAFTA AwardsOn the Beach (1959)
1960Youth Film AwardBerlin International Film FestivalBest Feature Film Suitable for Young PeopleInherit the Wind (1960)
1959BodilBodil AwardsBest American Film (Bedste amerikanske film)The Defiant Ones (1958)
1958NYFCC AwardNew York Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorThe Defiant Ones (1958)

Nominated Awards

1971Golden Berlin BearBerlin International Film FestivalBless the Beasts & Children (1971)
1971Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsBest Producer-Director10th place.
1970Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorThe Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)
1968OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureGuess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1968OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorGuess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1968Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorGuess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1968DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesGuess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
1966OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureShip of Fools (1965)
1966Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsProducer-Director9th place.
1964Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director5th place.
1963Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director6th place.
1962OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1962DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesJudgment at Nuremberg (1961)
1961Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director7th place.
1961BAFTA Film AwardBAFTA AwardsBest Film from any SourceInherit the Wind (1960)
1960Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director5th place.
1960Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorOn the Beach (1959)
1960Golden Berlin BearBerlin International Film FestivalInherit the Wind (1960)
1959Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director5th place.
1959OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1959OscarAcademy Awards, USABest DirectorThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1959Golden GlobeGolden Globes, USABest DirectorThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1959DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1958Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director6th place.
1958Golden Berlin BearBerlin International Film FestivalThe Defiant Ones (1958)
1958DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesThe Pride and the Passion (1957)
1955OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureThe Caine Mutiny (1954)
1955Cecil B. DeMille AwardGolden Globes, USA
1953OscarAcademy Awards, USABest PictureHigh Noon (1952)

2nd Place Awards

1970Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsProducer-Director
1968Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsProducer-Director
1962Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsTop Producer/Director

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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