Millard Kaufman

By | Mar 12, 2012

Two days after his 92nd birthday, Millard Kaufman died. Kaufman was a screen writer beginning in the late 1940s and into 1970s. He was the co-creator of Mr. Magoo.

Born March 12, 1917, in Baltimore, Kaufman spent two years as a merchant seaman after high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1939. After graduation he moved to New York City and worked as a newspaperman.

In 1942 he enlisted in the marines and served on Guadalcanal, landed at Guam with the 1st Marine Brigade (Provisional) then participated in Okinawa with the 6th Marine Division. While serving in the Pacific, Kaufman was stricken with malaria and dengue fever. He returned to New York only to discover he couldn’t tolerate the climate changes. He and his wife moved to Los Angeles.

In 1949, Kaufman wrote the screenplay for the short film Ragtime Bear, the first appearance of Mr. Magoo. He followed this up in 1950 with another Mr. Magoo film, Punchy de Leon. Quincy Magoo is a wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of sticky situations as a result of his nearsightedness.

Kaufman shared an agent with Dalton Trumbo. Trumbo, also a screenwriter, was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Trumbo co-wrote the screenplay for Gun Crazy, but it was Millard Kaufman’s name that was on the credits.

A writer for most of his life it wasn’t until he was 90 that Kaufman published his first novel. Bowl of Cherries was released in October 2007. A second novel, Misadventure, came out in 2011.

Note: Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection is scheduled for release in June 2012, while the Television collection is now available.


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