The collection contains primarily film and television scripts, treatments, script notes, and miscellaneous production material.
Howard Robert Cohen (1942-1999) was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a child he exhibited a marked talent for drawing and wanted
to become a cartoonist but abandoned the idea as a teenager to pursue a career in journalism. Among the schools he attended
were the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology, and
Roosevelt University. Beginning in 1962, Cohen wrote and illustrated “Aardvark,” the satirical Chicago-based alternative magazine
created and edited by film producer and writer Jeff Begun. For three years Cohen worked as an associate editor at “Playboy”
magazine, followed by a one-year stint writing television commercials and corporate films for the advertising agency Foote,
Cone & Belding. In 1970, Cohen left advertising to freelance as a graphic designer. He drew posters, conceived record album
covers, illustrated books, created corporate logos, and designed main titles for film and television. Two of his posters from
this period hang in the permanent poster collection of the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Cohen formed the “Conception
Corporation,” a counter-culture comedy ensemble consisting of Jeff Begun and Second City comedians and film actors Murphy
Dunne and Ira Miller. Their successful underground video production, “Void Where Prohibited by Law,” brought them to California
in 1970. In Hollywood Cohen met film director Vernon Zimmerman who asked him to write the screenplay for THE UNHOLY ROLLERS,
a low-budget action-drama to be directed by Zimmerman and produced by Roger Corman. The film, released by American International
Pictures in 1972, became an underground cult classic. Cohen became a student of Roger Corman’s unofficial film school alongside
writers Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, Curtis Hanson, and others. Cohen contributed nine films to Corman’s canon and directed
three during their eighteen-year association that lasted from 1972 to 1990. Cohen wrote more than 50 screenplays. He is credited
as a writer on 28 films, including one full-length animated feature. Of these, he directed seven, produced two, created the
soundtracks for three, and acted in one film he wrote and directed. As a script consultant, he worked on countless films for
which he received no screen credit. Cohen’s television credits also prove extensive. He worked for several years at the animation
company DIC Enterprises on various children’s animated and live-action series. Cohen created one animated series, co-created
another, worked as voice director on one, and eventually accumulated more than one hundred episodic writing credits on several
animated series. In addition to animated television, Cohen also wrote many 90-minute television films and numerous commercials.
He was a frequent guest teacher at acting classes in Los Angeles and taught his own acting class in 1993.
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