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Preston Sturges (; born Edmund Preston Biden; August 29, 1898 – August 6, 1959) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and film director. In 1941, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film The Great McGinty, his first of three nominations in the category. Sturges took the screwball comedy format of the 1930s to another level, writing dialogue that, heard today, is often surprisingly naturalistic, mature, and ahead of its time, despite the farcical situations. It is not uncommon for a Sturges character to deliver an exquisitely turned phrase and take an elaborate pratfall within the same scene. A tender love scene between Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve was enlivened by a horse, which repeatedly poked its nose into Fonda's head. Prior to Sturges, other figures in Hollywood (such as Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Frank Capra) had directed films from their own scripts, however Sturges is often regarded as the first Hollywood figure to establish success as a screenwriter and then move into directing his own scripts, at a time when those roles were separate. Sturges famously sold the story for The Great McGinty to Paramount Pictures for $1, in return for being allowed to direct the film; the sum was quietly raised to $10 by the studio for legal reasons.

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