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Frank De Felitta Collection
WGF-MS-098  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Frank De Felitta Collection contains drafts of novels including Audrey Rose, The Entity, Oktoberfest and Sea Trial as well as drafts of screenplays by De Felitta adapted from his novels. Additional produced film scripts include The Savage is Loose (1974) and Scissors (1991). In 1979, De Felitta attempted to adapted Anne Rice's novel Interview with a Vampire into a film. Included in the collection are several drafts of his unproduced screenplay. Also included in the collection are scripts for the TV series Armstrong Circle Theater and Danger and TV Movies Trapped (1973) and Two Worlds of Jennie Logan (1979). In addition to writing, De Felitta produced documentaries for television. The collection includes production materials, interview transcripts and correspondence for two NBC New documentaries Mississippi: A Self-Portrait (1966) and The World of the Teenager (1967). In addition, the collection contains several short stories as well as a libretto and musical score for a musical called Wanda, Wanda produced in Los Angeles in 1983. Most of De Felitta's major screenplays and teleplays are catalogued and available in the library's main collection.
Background
A writer of novels, television and films as well as a producer of TV documentaries, Frank De Felitta was perhaps best known for writing the occult horror novel, Audrey Rose, which was published in 1975 and has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide. Born in the Bronx on August 3, 1921, Frank Paul De Felitta was the son of Italian Immigrants. His father Pasquale, a painter, oversaw the painting of some of New York City’s movie palaces. De Felitta graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in the Bronx and served in the Air Force during World War II. After the war, he married Dorothy Gilbert and had two children, Raymond and Ivy-Eileen. De Felitta began his writing career on a weekly radio series The Whistler. This led to gigs writing during the 1950s for anthology television series such as Suspense, Tales of Tomorrow, Armstrong Circle Theater and Danger – a live show featuring mostly psychological murder mysteries. He also gravitated toward documentary work throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1958, he was nominated for a Writers Guild Award (along with Irwin Blacker) for an episode of the CBS series Odyssey “Satan in Salem” about the Salem witch trials. In 1963, he won a Writers Guild Award (along with Robert Northshield) for the NBC News documentary The Chosen Child, about adoption. In 1963, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special with Irving Gitlin for an episode of DuPont Show of the Week entitled “Emergency Ward.” He also wrote and directed a 1965 NBC special The Stately Ghosts of England, documenting three haunted estates. In 1965, De Felitta produced a documentary for NBC News “Mississippi: A Self-Portrait.” The piece depicted racism in Civil Rights Era Mississippi, highlighting specifically the negative attitude of white Mississippi residents toward black residents. In the documentary, African American waiter Booker Wright speaks candidly about the negative treatment he receives from white patrons while working in a restaurant. As a result of the broadcast, Wright was forced to quit his job due to being shunned by customers. Wright was later murdered. De Felitta’s son Raymond, along with one of Wright’s granddaughters, chronicled Wright’s life and these incidents in a 2012 Dateline NBC Special and in a documentary entitled Booker’s Place. De Felitta produced another documentary for NBC News in 1967 entitled “The World of the Teenager” which looked at youth culture and teens in Lexington, Massachusetts. De Felitta was perhaps best known for writing the horror novel Audrey Rose (1975), about a couple that gradually comes to believe a man who claims their daughter is the reincarnation of his deceased daughter. De Felitta later wrote The Entity (1978) about a woman tormented psychologically by a presence outside knowable space and time. De Felitta adapted both novels into screenplays. The film Audrey Rose was directed by Robert Wise and released in 1978, starring Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason. The Entity was released in 1992, directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Barbara Hershey. De Felitta is credited with writing several TV movies during the 1970s and 1980s and his final film writing credit was for the horror film Scissors (1991). Based on a story by Joyce Selznick, the film starred Sharon Stone. De Felitta wrote short stories into retirement age and passed away in March of 2016 at the age of 94 in Los Angeles.
Extent
10 linear feet, 9 total boxes
Restrictions
The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.
Availability
Available by appointment only. Most materials stored offsite. One week advance notice required for retrieval.