Irwin Shaw (Bronx, NY, February 27, 1913 – Davos (Switzerland), May 16, 1984) was a playwright, novelist and screenwriter.


Early years

Shaw was born in the Bronx, descendant of Russian Jewish immigrants.[ 1 ] His parents were both rose and Will Shamforoff. His brother, David Shaw, was a well-known producer in Hollywood. Shortly after the birth of Irwin, the Shamforoff moved to Brooklyn. Irwin he changed his surname to enter the University. In 1934, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at Brooklyn College.



Shaw started writing screenplays in 1935 at the age of 21. He wrote scripts for various radio programs, including Dick Tracy, The Gumps and Studio On.

The first play by Shaw was Bury the Dead, a drama about a group of soldiers who refuse to be buried Expressionism. During the 1940s, Shaw wrote several films, including The Talk of the Town (1942), Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942) and Easy Living (1949).

Shaw married the daughter of actor Snitz Edwards Marian Edwards. The couple had a son, Adam Shaw, born in 1950, who is also dedicated to writing.


Shaw enlisted in the army of the United States and was an officer during the Second World War. Shaw, The Young Lions, first novel was published in 1949 and was inspired by his experiences in Europe during the war. The novel was adapted into a film starring Marlon Brando.

The second novel of Shaw, The Troubled Air, was published in 1951 and chronicles the rise of McCarthyism. Shaw also signed a petition asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review cases of John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo, which led to a hearing before the House UN-American activities Committee. Shaw was falsely accused by publishing Network Channels be communist, which led to be included in the blacklists of film studies. In 1951, Shaw left the United States and moved to Europe, where he lived for 25 years, mainly in Paris and Switzerland. During the 1950s, he wrote several screenplays, including Desire Under the Elms and Fire Down Below.

While living in Europe, Shaw wrote several books, including Lucy Crown (1956), Two Weeks in Another Town (1960), Rich Man, Poor Man (1970) and Evening in Byzantium (1978). Rich Man, Poor Man was adapted into a miniseries in 1976. Likewise, its Top of the Hill novel was adapted in 1980, movie starring Wayne Rogers, Adrienne Barbeau and Sonny Bono.

The last two novels Shaw were Bread Upon the Waters (1981) and Acceptable Losses (1982).


Shaw was recognized as a short story writer, contributing to Collier’s Weekly, The New Yorker, Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines. 63 of his stories were published in 1978 in the book Short Stories: Five Decades. Three of his short stories (“The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,” “The Monument” and “The Man Who Married a French Wife”) were dramatizadas series PBS Great Performances in 1981.

Recognitions and last years

During his lifetime, Shaw received numerous awards, including an Award o. Henry and three Playboy Awards.

Shaw died in Davos (Switzerland) on May 16, 1984 at the age of 71 after having been treated for prostate cancer.