Stirling Silliphant Collection

Finding aid created by Writers Guild Foundation Archive staff using RecordEXPRESS
Writers Guild Foundation Archive
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, California 90048
(323) 782-4680

Descriptive Summary

Title: Stirling Silliphant Collection
Dates: 1962-1995
Collection Number: WGF-MS-108
Creator/Collector: Silliphant, Stirling, 1918-1996
Extent: 9.5 linear feet or 8 boxes
Repository: Writers Guild Foundation Archive
Los Angeles, California 90048
Abstract: The Stirling Silliphant Collection is comprised of scripts, outlines, notes and correspondence for film and television projects that screenwriter Silliphant wrote throughout his career. The majority of the projects included are unproduced or unaired.
Language of Material: English


Open for research. Available by appointment only.

Publication Rights

The responsibility to secure copyright and publication permission rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

Stirling Silliphant Collection. Writers Guild Foundation Archive

Acquisition Information

Donated by Tiana Silliphant via Nat Segaloff on November 1, 2019

Biography/Administrative History

Academy-Award winning Screenwriter Stirling Silliphant was born in Detroit on January 16, 1918 and grew up in Glendale, CA. After graduating from the University of Southern California and serving in World War II, he worked in promotions and advertising at Disney and 20th Century Fox. He then pursued screenwriting and his first credit came in 1955, as co-writer of the film 5 Against the House. He worked steadily for forty years as a film and television writer and producer. Silliphant wrote episodes for numerous television series’ and co-created the popular anthology TV series’ Route 66 and The Naked City. Later he wrote miniseries and movies for television such as Pearl (1978), Fly Away Home (1981), Space (1985) and Mussolini (1985). Silliphant found fame in writing for film when, in 1967, he won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film In the Heat of the Night. His other feature work includes writing disaster movies for producer Irwin Allen, The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and the Towering Inferno (1974). In the late 1960s, he studied martial arts under Bruce Lee. Silliphant and Lee, along with James Coburn, collaborated on a film project The Silent Flute. Lee died before filming could begin and the film was later released as Circle of Iron in 1978. Lee introduced Silliphant to one if his students, Tiana Alexandra, and the two were married in 1974. This was Silliphant’s fourth and final marriage. Silliphant became disillusioned with Hollywood and moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 1988. He continued to work until his death on April 26,1996 from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife Tiana and children Stirling and Dayle.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Stirling Silliphant Collection is arranged into two series. Series I: Unproduced Film and TV Projects, 1965-1995 contains scripts and treatments for numerous feature films, television pilots, television movies, and miniseries that Silliphant wrote but were never made. Projects span multiple genres and styles and represent the breadth of Silliphant’s career. Notable projects include an adaptation of Atlas, Shrugged, with notes from Ayn Rand and producer Michael Jaffe; an Osmond Brothers film set at a wilderness survival camp; a pilot for the Marvel character Daredevil; several projects about Vietnam and/or the Vietnam war; an adaptation of the Arthur Herzog eco-fiction novel Heat; a version of Douglas Trumbull’s Hiero’s Journey adapted from the Sterling Lanier novel; ideas for a potential sequel to In The Heat of the Night; an adaptation of the novel The Khaki Mafia; an adaptation of the Irving Wallace novel the Seventh Secret; an adaptation of the novel The Menorah Men (titled Sojourners). There are also a few outlines and scripts for Silliphant’s original pilot, miniseries and feature ideas that he developed over the years. Series II: Produced Film and TV Projects, 1962-1995 consists of scripts for some films and TV series that were released during Silliphant’s career. These include the miniseries’ Mussolini and Pearl and the features The Grass Harp, Catch the Heat and Over the Top. This series also includes press clippings and publicity interviews for a variety of films, TV series and books that Silliphant wrote.

Indexing Terms

Film adaptations.
Television adaptations.
Television writers.