Sidney Aaron "Paddy" Chayefsky (January 29, 1923 – August 1, 1981), was an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Screenplay (the other three-time winners, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, have all shared their awards with co-writers).
He was considered one of the most renowned dramatists of the so-called Golden Age of Television. His intimate, realistic scripts provided a naturalistic style of television drama for the 1950s, and he was regarded as the central figure in the "kitchen sink realism" movement of American television. Martin Gottfried wrote, "He was a successful writer, the most successful graduate of television's slice of life school of naturalism."
Following his critically acclaimed teleplays, Chayefsky continued to succeed as a playwright and novelist. As a screenwriter, he received threeAcademy Awards for Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971) and Network (1976). The movie Marty was based on his own television drama about a relationship between two lonely people finding love. Network was his scathing satire of the television industry and The Hospital was also satiric. Film historian David Thomson termed The Hospital "daring, uninhibited, and prophetic. No one else would have dreamed of doing it."
Chayefsky's early stories were notable for their dialogue, their depiction of second-generation Americans and their sentiment and humor. They were frequently influenced by the author's childhood in the Bronx. The protagonists were generally middle-class tradesmen struggling with personal problems: loneliness, pressures to conform or their own emotions.
Drama critic Martin Gottfried gives a general description of Chayefsky's personal traits as they may have affected his writings:Chayefsky was a sturdy man of 42, compact and burly in the bulky way of a schoolyard athlete, with thick dark hair and a bent nose that could pass for a streetfighter's. He was a grown-up with one foot in the boys' clubs of his city youth, a street snob who would not allow the loss of his nostalgia. He was an intellectual competitor, always spoiling for a political argument or a philosophical argument, or any exchange over any issue, changing sides for the fun of the fray. A liberal, he was annoyed by liberals; a proud Jew, he wouldn't let anyone call him a "Jewish writer." In short, the life of the mind was a participant sport for Paddy Chayefsky. The footstone of Paddy Chayefsky
Paddy and Susan Sackler Chayefsky's son Dan was born six years after their 1949 marriage. Despite an alleged affair with Kim Novak, Paddy and Susan Chayefsky remained married until his death.
Chayefsky died in New York City of cancer in August 1981 at the age of 58, and was interred in the Sharon Gardens Division of Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York. His personal papers are at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Billy Rose Theatre Division.