Fay Kanin, Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning screenwriter and former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, died today at the age of 95. A New York native, Kanin began her showbiz career in the early 1940s. One of her earliest works was the MGM film Sunday Punch, about boxers living in a boarding house, which she co-wrote with her husband Michael Kanin. The duo went on to become one of the most successful husband and wife writing teams in Hollywood history. The couple also penned 1952’s My Pal Gus, 1954’s Rhapsody and 1956’s The Opposite Sex and they shared an Oscar nomination for the 1958 Clark Gable-starrer Teacher’s Pet. Fay Kanin also went to Broadway with Goodbye My Fancy (1949), about a female congressional representative renewing past loves, which her husband produced. When her husband’s interest in writing waned in the late 1960s, Fay Kanin went solo mainly writing TV movies, including Heat Of Anger for CBS in 1972. She went on to write Tell Me Where It Hurts, a 1974 CBS movie starring Maureen Stapleton which won Kanin an Emmy. Her other TV credits include Hustling, starring Jill Clayburgh as a prostitute recounting her life to a reporter played by Lee Remick. She also co-wrote and produced the Emmy-winning Friendly Fire on ABC. She made a brief return to Broadway in 1985 with the Tony-nominated musical Grind, adapted from an unproduced screenplay. Her husband Michael passed away in 1993.
Kanin was elected President of the Academy in 1979, serving until 1983. She was its second female president, following in the path of Bette Davis, who left after only one month. She also served as president of the Screen Branch of the Writers Guild of America, as Chair of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, an officer of the Writers Guild Foundation and as a member of the boards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the American Film Institute.