Born November 12, 1916, in St. Paul, Minn., Philip Reisman, Jr., grew up in New Rochelle, NY and attended Brown University.
He worked at RKO-Pathé as script editor, head writer and editorial supervisor on its This is America newsreels and shorts
before enlisting in the USMC in WWII, serving as a Tech. Sgt. in its 5th Marine Division Combat Photographic Section. He returned
to RKO in 1945 and wrote the English narration for Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki (released 1951), and the feature film Tattooed
In 1951 he moved into television as script editor on the TV shows Man Against Crime, I Spy and The Hunter. Reisman became
a freelancer in 1955, writing the feature films Special Delivery (Columbia, 1955) and Assassins, Inc. (Espada Films, 1956).
For television in the 1950s he wrote original scripts for Armstrong Circle Theatre, Studio One, NBC Project Twenty, CBS Twentieth
Century series and Kaiser Aluminum Hour, and several adaptations for Kraft Theatre. Joining the picket line, he actively participated
in the 1960 WGA’s successful 146-day strike for residuals.
He resumed writing for television, adapting Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith (1960) and Stephen Vincent Benét’s The Devil and Daniel
Webster (1960); he wrote the documentary Big City (1960); Merrily We Roll Along: The Early Days of the Automobile narrated
by Groucho Marx (1961); Cops and Robbers narrated by Edward G. Robinson (1962), receiving an Edgar Award from the Mystery
Writers of America; his adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (1962) was nominated for the 1962-64 TV-Radio Writers Annual Award
and for the WGA award. Reisman wrote The Real West for NBC Project Twenty (1961) narrated by Gary Cooper, which won the Premio
Italia (1961), the Cine Golden Eagle (1961), and was given awards by WGA, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Berlin International
Film Festival, Cork International Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, Victoria International Film Festival,
African Film Festival, AM Film Festival (NY), Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Belgian National Center/Films
for Children, and was nominated for a Television Academy award.
Reisman’s All the Way Home screenplay of James Agee’s A Death in the Family and Tad Mosel’s Pulitizer Prize play, starring
Robert Preston and Jean Simmons (Paramount/Talent Associates), opened in Lincoln Center in 1963 and was collected by the Library
of Congress. His The Red, White, and Blue narrated by Walter Brennan Biographic sketch for Philip H. Reisman, Jr. (1964) won
American Film Festival and Freedom Foundation awards. Reisman’s The End of the Trail (Project Twenty, 1964), also narrated
by Brennan, was nominated for a Television Academy award, was given the Cine Golden Eagle, and received Western Heritage Wrangler,
Ohio State University, Festival dei Popoli (Florence) and American Film Festival awards. Reisman was given the Eugene O’Neill
Memorial Foundation Award in 1965. His feature P.J. starring George Peppard was released by Universal in 1968.
In the 1970s in addition to numerous other produced TV projects Reisman wrote episodes for The Adams Chronicles (1975) and
Sandberg’s Lincoln (1976). In the 1980s Reisman adapted for TV Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi (1980), The Private History
of the Campaign That Failed (1981) and Pudd’nhead Wilson (1984), winning WGA and Cine nominations and a Peabody Award from
the U. of Georgia School of Journalism.
Reisman was a longtime member of WGAE; he served on its Council and on the NY chapter of the TV Academy Board of Governors;
a panelist at the National Playwrights Conference of the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Foundation in 1966, he became a trustee
of the Eugene O’Neill Theater (Waterford, CT). Reisman’s lifelong interest in supporting accurate and respectful recognition
of Native Americans led to his writing numerous articles and presenting related programs to New York groups. In retirement
he researched and wrote for publications of the Larchmont (NY) Historical Society. Reisman died June 1, 1999, in New Rochelle,
NY, survived by his wife Anna and their five children and families.
(Biography supplied by Reisman’s family)