Lysander Pierre Collings (September 22, 1900 - December 21, 1937), known professionally as Pierre Collings, was a writer and filmmaker who, along with Sheridan Gibney, won two Academy Awards in 1936 for The Story of Louis Pasteur . Their screenplay was adapted from their own work, leading to awards for both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Story.
Collings started in the motion picture industry at 17 as a messenger boy and worked as a cameraman before becoming known for his writing.
He wrote a number of screenplays in the mid-late 1920s and although he was less active and suffered from a number of personal issues in the 1930s, it was then that his best known work was released. The Story of Louis Pasteur was nominated for Best Picture and won Best Actor for Paul Muni, in addition to winning Best Story and Best Adapted Screenplay for Collings and Gibney. Unusually, the pair won Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting their own work. The Best Story category was discontinued in 1957 in favor of Best Original Screenplay.
Collings was born in Nova Scotia, Canada to American parents, Francis and Olive Collings.
In 1926 he married Natalie Harris. The couple divorced in 1930.
He was arrested for drunk driving in August 1935, a few months before starting work on The Story of Louis Pasteur. Then, while working on the screenplay, his mother died unexpectedly, and upon its completion he suffered a nervous breakdown.He was not in attendance at the Academy Awards ceremony to receive his two awards. Unable to secure much work after Louis Pasteur, Collings started drinking heavily and eventually fell into poverty.
He died of pneumonia at the age of 37 in North Hollywood, California.At the time he was working on a screenplay with songwriter Carrie Jacobs Bond. The Los Angeles Times attributed his death to "heartache and despair" due to lack of work.
Both of Collings's Academy Awards have been lost. One was found after his death in a hotel closet full of items kept by the hotel as collateral when guests did not pay in advance. Actor Charles McKay, who found it, and screenwriter Arthur Caesar returned the award to the Academy, but today the Academy does not have a record of what happened to it.Collings is rumored to have pawned the other.
Paul Muni was an Austro-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. Muni was a five-time Academy Award nominee, with one win. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theater. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at the Warner Bros. studio, and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted.
The Story of Louis Pasteur is a 1936 American black-and-white biographical film from Warner Bros., produced by Henry Blanke, directed by William Dieterle, that stars Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise and Donald Woods, and Paul Muni as the renowned scientist who developed major advances in microbiology, which revolutionized agriculture and medicine. The film's screenplay—which tells a highly fictionalized version of Pasteur’s life—was written by Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney, and Edward Chodorov (uncredited).
The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. They are overwhelmingly considered by both entertainment industry insiders as well as the movie-going public to be the most prestigious film awards in the United States. The Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source. The most frequently adapted media are novels, but other adapted narrative formats include plays, musicals, and other theatrical works; short stories; nonfiction books; TV series; and even other films, for example, foreign language films. All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard, since the sequel must be based on the story set forth in the original film.
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