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Jesse L. Lasky Jr. (September 19, 1910 – April 11, 1988) was an American screenwriter, novelist, playwright and poet.

Early life

He was the son of film producer Jesse Lasky Sr. and his wife, Bessie Ida Ginsberg. Lasky was born on Broadway, New York, and raised in Hollywood, Los Angeles, in England and in France. He attended Blair Academy, the Hun School of Princeton and the University of Dijon, France, where he was awarded a degree in literature. After winning awards for poetry at the age of 17, he embarked on a career as a professional writer.

Career

Lasky wrote eight novels, five plays, three books of poetry and more than 50 screenplays, including eight for director Cecil B. DeMille. In addition to a Christopher Award, he was a two-time winner of the Boxoffice Magazine Award: in 1949 for Samson and Delilah, and in 1956 for The Ten Commandments. Lasky's writing career took him from Hollywood to London, Rome, Austria, Denmark, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Greece and France.

World War II

During World War II, Lasky served as a Captain in the Combat Photographic Units of the United States Army Signal Corps during four campaigns in the Southwest Pacific, and was decorated by General Douglas MacArthur. He organised the Army School of Film Training at the Signal Corps Photographic Center, where writers were instructed to script training films for every branch of the military service.

Later life

Returning home after three-and-a-half years of military duty overseas, Lasky resumed his writing career with new books, plays, and films. He lectured on creative writing and the history of Hollywood at many American and British institutions, including the Oxford Union. He also served as Vice President of the Screen Branch of the Writers Guild of America.

In 1962, Lasky and his wife, Pat Silver, moved to London. They also lived for part of the year in southern Spain, and travelled extensively. Lasky was a member of the London gentlemen's Garrick Club and the Company of Military Historians. Tsuguharu Foujita's painting of a 17-year-old Lasky, dating from a trip to Paris with his mother in the 1920s, appears on page 180 of Lasky's autobiography, Whatever Happened To Hollywood?, which was published by Funk and Wagnalls in 1975.

Lasky died on April 11, 1988 from pancreatic cancer.