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Alfred Brenner

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Alfred Brenner Obituary
Brenner, Alfred
April 10, 1916 - July 17, 2011
Alfred Brenner was an Emmy-award winning writer of articles, books, plays, television shows, and motion pictures. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey to Jacob and Lillian Brenner. His younger brother Eugene was born three years later. After graduating from high school in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Alfred attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he met Elizabeth Cizon. After graduation, the two moved to New York, where Elizabeth worked at the New York Public Library. Soon, they married, started a family, and participated in various social justice causes.
After stints writing for the WPA and the Army, Alfred started his professional life as a playwright in the early 1950s after seeing Paddy Cheyevsky's Marty. He wrote one-hour dramas for the major live shows of this golden age of television, including the US Steel Hour, Kraft Playhouse, Studio One, Alcoa Theater and Philco Playhouse. His teleplay, "Survival," for the U S Steel Hour in 1957, was published by Houghton Mifflin in The Best Television Plays, and has since been republished in numerous anthologies.
As the television industry's center of gravity shifted West, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Alfred wrote pilots, movies-of-the week and episodes for many series, including Rough Riders, Checkmate, The New Breed, Ben Casey, The Bold Ones, Mannix, McMillan & Wife, and Ironside, among others. In 1959, he received a best writing Emmy award (with Ken Hughes) from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the half-hour drama "Eddie," starring Mickey Rooney, on Alcoa-Goodyear Theatre.
He wrote the screenplay with Sidney Michaels for Key Witness, a 1960 crime drama featuring Jeffrey Hunter, Pat Crowley, and Dennis Hopper. In the late 60s, he lived in London for a year where he wrote for BBC television. After returning from England, he wrote a play for the theater, The Death of Black Jesus, which was optioned by Harry Belafonte, but was produced at the Karamu Playhouse in Cleveland by Reuben Silver in 1972. His next play, Passion Play, won the national playwriting contest at the JFK Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
He wrote a guidebook for dramatic writers, The TV Scriptwriter's Handbook, first published in 1980 by Writer's Digest Books and revised and reissued in 1992 by The Silman-James Press. For many years he taught "Dramatic Writing for Film and TV" at UCLA and conducted ongoing private writing workshops.
He is survived by sons Robert and Eric, daughter-in-law Rikki, grandchildren Aaron, Emma, and Moss, granddaughter-in-law Rona, and great grandchildren Leila and Lena.
If you wish to honor his memory, you may contribute to any charity devoted to social justice.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 17 to Aug. 19, 2011
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