Beginnings: A Memoir

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 25, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
Since 1939, Horton Foote, "the Chekhov of the small town," has chronicled with compassion and acuity the experience of American life both intimate and universal. His adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and his original screenplay Tender Mercies earned him Academy Awards. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, the Gold Medal for Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for Drama, and the President's National Medal of Arts.
Beginnings is the story of Foote's discovery of his own vocation. He didn't always want to write. When he left Wharton, Texas, at the age of sixteen to study at the Pasadena Playhouse, Foote aspired to be an actor. He remembers the terror and excitement of leaving home during the Depression, his early exposure to the influences of German theater, and the speech lessons he took to "cure" him of his Southern drawl. He eventually arrives in New York to search for acting jobs and to study with some of the great Russian and American teachers of the 1930s. But after mixed results on the stage, he finally recognizes his true passion, writing.
From Martha Graham to Tennessee Williams, from Agnes de Mille to Lillian Gish, Horton collaborates with great artists in both dance and theater. The world he describes of fierce commitment and passion regardless of financial rewards is both captivating and inspiring. Through it all Horton maintains his genuine Southern charm, and he often travels home to Wharton, the town that nurtured him as a storyteller and has inspired his writing for the past sixty years. From one of the most moving and distinctive voices of our time, Beginnings is a rare, personal look at a fascinating era in American life, and at the making of a writer.
 

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Beginnings: a memoir

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Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winning playwright Foote (Trip to Bountiful, Tender Mercies) chronicled his Wharton, TX, childhood in Farewell, in which he amusingly describes small-town life in the ... Read full review

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Contents

I
16
II
28
IV
44
VI
58
VIII
84
IX
110
X
140
XII
158
XIV
190
XVI
196
XVII
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XIX
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XXI
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Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Horton Foote was born in Wharton, Texas on March 14, 1916. He studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in California for two years before going to New York and joining Mary Hunter's American Actors Company. While there, he wrote a one-act play called Wharton Dance. After that, he continued to pursue acting and appeared in a few other plays, but primarily focused on writing. After World War II, he moved to Washington D. C. to run the King Smith School with Vincent Donehue. While he was there, he opened the King Smith Theater to all races, the first integrated audiences in the nation's capital. In addition to plays, he wrote for television and film. He was one of the writers for The Gabby Hayes Show on NBC. He wrote numerous plays including The Chase, The Carpetbagger's Children, and The Orphans' Home. He wrote numerous screenplays for movies including Baby, the Rain Must Fall and The Trip to Bountiful. He won the Pulitzer Prize for The Young Man from Atlanta and two Academy Awards for To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies. He died on March 4, 2009 at the age of 92.

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