Horton Foote bigraphy, stories - An american playwright and scriptwriter

Horton Foote : biography

14 March 191 - 04 March 2009

Horton Foote was born in a small Texas town, called Wharton. He was born in family of Albert Horton, who was a shopkeeper and his wife Holly (Brooks in girlhood). At the age of twelve Horton Foote told his parents that he wanted to become an actor. His father paid for the acting technique education at Pasadena Playhouse. At the age of sixteen Horton Foote left his home and made his way to New-York in order to fulfill his dream and acting career. He entered an acting school, his teachers were Russian immigrants: Tamara Deikarhanova, Vera Solovieva, Andrei Jilinsky. There was not enough work for the actor. Horton Foote joined Mary Hunter’s group. Together with other actors he founded American Actors Company. At of the repetitions, his colleague and friend, dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille, advised Horton trying himself in literature. That very evening, Horton Foote wrote his first play, called “Wharton dance”. The play was put on the stage, and the following play was written a year ago.

Writing plays didn’t bring Horton money, so he tried a few more professions to make his living in New-York. He even worked as a night watchman in the book shop at Penn Station. That was the place there Horton Foote met his future wife Lillian Vallish. In 1945 Horton and Lillian Vallish married. They lived together for more than forty years until he died in 1992. The couple had four children: Barbara Hallie, Albert Horton, Walter Vallish and Daisy Brooks.


The first Horton Foote’s steps in literature were marked with more positive reviews than his acting experience. So, since 1940s he completely switched to literature. By the middle of 1950s, he became one of the main authors writing scripts for television programmes. On 1st of March, 1953 TV channel NBC showed the premiere of Foote’s TV performance “The Trip to Bountiful” based on the play by the writer. That play was successfully performed at Broadway and later was used as the base for a film script of 1985.

In 1950s Horton Foote actively worked with Broadway theatres and TV companies. He adapted Faulkner’s novel “The wild palms” twice during his career, firstly in 1959 and then in 1997. For both of the screen-versions Horton Foote was nominated for Emmy, he won it in 1997.


1962 – “To Kill a Mockingbird”

1965 – “Baby the Rain Must Fall”

1966 – “The Chase”

1983 – “Tender Mercies”

1985 – “1918”

1985 – “The trip to Bountiful”

1992 – “Of Mice and Men”

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