Michael Kanin, a playwright and screenwriter who shared an Oscar in 1942 for the Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film classic “Woman of the Year,” has died at age 83.Kanin, the younger brother of writer Garson Kanin, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said. Kanin, who also was a director and producer, shared the Oscar for best original screenplay with Ring Lardner Jr., just three years after first coming to Hollywood. He went on to write many successful films and Broadway plays, most frequently with his wife, Fay Mitchell Kanin. Their film credits included “Sunday Punch,””The Opposite Sex” and “Rhapsody,” starring Elizabeth Taylor. They also wrote “Teacher’s Pet,” starring Clark Gable and Doris Day, which was nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay. Their Broadway hits included “Rashomon” and the musical “The High Life.” Kanin’s career was intertwined with his brother’s. He produced “A Double Life ,” starring Ronald Colman and written by Garson Kanin and his writer-actress wife, Ruth Gordon. The 1947 film received four Oscar nominations and won two Oscars. Kanin, born in Rochester, N.Y., on Feb. 1, 1910, moved to New York City with his family as a child. He studied at the Arts Students League and the New York School of Design while working summers with his brother on the “borscht circuit, ” writing, producing and singing in shows at Catskill Mountain hotels. During the Depression, he painted stage scenery for burlesque shows, but an eye injury caused him to switch to writing. After selling some radio sketches, Kanin moved with his family to Hollywood, where he was initially under contract to RKO. He returned to art in his later years, sculpting bronzes of many of his favorite entertainers, including Louis Armstrong, Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx. His work was exhibited at Los Angeles’ Heritage Gallery. Kanin founded the Michael Kanin Original Playwriting Awards for the American College Theater Festival, in which college writers’ works are produced each spring at the Kennedy Center in Washington. He was a charter member of the Writers Guild of America West and also was active on AMPAS committees. He is survived by his wife, a son, Josh, and two granddaughters.
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