Jay Dratler (Jay Dratler)

Jay Dratler

Jay Dratler (September 14, 1910- September 25, 1968) was an American screenwriter and novelist. Born in New York City, his mother was from Austria. After attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1920s, he studied at the Sorbonne in France and the University of Vienna, becoming fluent in French and German. He returned to the United States in 1932. Cashing in on his exceptional language skills on his return to the United States, he was employed as an editor by a New York publisher and translated the books Goya and Zeppelin from German to English. Jay Dratler moved to Hollywood and become a successful screenwriter and novelist. He wrote six novels, many screenplays and more than twenty television scripts. He was considered very influential during the classic era of film noir in the 1940s. He won both an Academy Award and an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Call Northside 777, and was nominated for an Oscar for his writing on Laura. The 1948 film Pitfall was based on Dratler’s novel of the same title. Late in life, Dratler began learning Spanish and became fluent, moving to Mexico City in the sixties. Jay Dratler died of a heart attack at the British-American Hospital in Mexico City in 1968. His body was returned to New York. He was survived by his widow Berenice, a daughter, and a son, Jay Dratler, Jr., who became a professor of law at the University of Akron School of Law, specializing in intellectual property law.


  • September, 14, 1911
  • USA
  • New York, New York


  • September, 25, 1968
  • Mexico City, Mexico

Cause of Death

  • heart attack

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