- William Bast
William Bast is a screen and television writer and author currently living in Los Angeles. In addition to writing scripts for motion pictures and television, he is the author of two biographies of the screen actor
James Dean[ImDb "William Bast" [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0060378] ] .
Bast was born on
April 3, 1931in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Gilbert Bast and Bernice Fleischmann. ["Who's Who in Entertainment", Illinois: Marquis Who's Who, Macmillan, 1988, "William Edwin Bast", p. 38] . He began his early education in Milwaukee, transferring to Kenosha when his family moved there. Moving back to Milwaukee, he subsequently graduated from Wauwatosa High school, then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When his family moved to Los Angeles, he transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he majored in Theater Arts, rooming with a fellow Theater Arts student from Indiana named James Dean. In 1952 he moved to New York to join Dean and pursue a career in radio and television. There, he initially worked in the Press Relations department at CBSand subsequently, in 1953, wrote his first scripts for the NBC televisionsitcom " The Aldrich Family" [Writers Guild of America, "Members Directory", "Bast, William", p. 62, Writers Guild of America, 1998]
After the death of Dean in an automobile accident in 1955, Bast chronicled his five year relationship with the actor in "James Dean: a Biography". [Bast, William,"James Dean: a Biography", New York: Ballantine Books, 1956 ] [Riese, R. "The Unabridged James Dean: His Life and Legacy from A to Z", "William Bast", pp. 40 - 42, Chicago, Illinois: Contemporary Books, 1991] After moving to London, Bast wrote the "The Myth Makers" ["The Myth Makers" by William Bast, in "Six Granada Plays", London: Faber and Faber, ND] for
Granada Television, a fictionalized drama inspired by Dean's funeral; which Bast perceived as grotesque and publicity-driven, with a shattering effect on Dean's rural-American family and his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana. In the United States the script was produced again by NBC's "Dupont Show of the Month" and aired under the title "The Movie Star". In the meantime Bast had adapted Jean Giraudoux's " Tiger at the Gates" for Granada Television, and written scripts for the BBCand Independent Television, including episodes of the classic series " The Prisoner". Back in the States he wrote episodes for " Combat!", "Perry Mason", " Ben Casey", " The Outer Limits", " Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "Honey West", and " Dr. Kildare", among other series ["Who's Who in Entertainment", "William Edwin Bast", p.38. ] .
In 1975 Bast produced and scripted "James Dean: Portrait of a Friend" for
NBC, a movie for television based upon his first James Dean biography. In 1976 he received the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allan Poe Awardfor his television movie " The Legend of Lizzie Borden" with Elizabeth Montgomeryin the title role. In 1977 his adaptation of Alexandre Dumas, père's " The Man in the Iron Mask" starring Richard Chamberlain in a dual role picked up two Emmynominations for Bast's script and Olga Lehmann's costume designs. His script for " The Scarlet Pimpernel" with Anthony Andrewsand Ian McKellenwas honored with a Christopher Awardin 1982, and his "The First Modern Olympics" won him the Writers Guild of AmericaOutstanding Script for Television Longform Series for 1984.
From 1985 through 1987 Bast wrote and produced "
The Colbys", a spin-off from the popular series " Dynasty", with his parter Paul Huson; " The Colbys" won the 1986 People's Choice Award. He also collaborated with Huson writing and producing a variety of television movies and series, including "Tucker's Witch", "The Hamptons", "Pursuit", "The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake", "Power and Beauty", and "The Fury Within".
Bast's motion picture credits include the script for
Ray Harryhausen's " The Valley of Gwangi", " Hammerhead", and an adaptation of Harold Robbins' " The Betsy" starring Laurence Olivierand Tommy Lee Jones[ImDb "William Bast", [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0060378] ] .
In 2006 Barricade Books (USA) published "Surviving James Dean" [Bast, William,"Surviving James Dean", New York: Barricade Books, 2006, ISBN 1-56980-298-X ] , a second, more candid book by Bast about his relationship with Dean; which featured material that Bast did not include in his earlier account due to personal trepidations and social
moresof the 1950s.
ome further references to William Bast
*Connors, M., Craddock, J., (eds)"Videohounds Golden Movie Retriever", "William Bast", p. 1617, Gale, Visible Ink Press, 2000.
*Dalton, David, "James Dean: The Mutant King", "William Bast", San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1974.
*Holley, Val, "James Dean: The Biography", "William Bast", New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.
*Marill, Alvin H., "Movies Made For Television: The Telefeature and the Mini-Series 1964-1979", "The Legend of Lizzie Borden", p. 201-202, "James Dean", p. 231-232. Connecticut: Arlington House Publishers, 1980.
*Spoto, Donald, "Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean", "Bast, William", New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
* [http://members.authorsguild.net/williambast/ William Bast website]
* [http://www.americanlegends.com/Interviews/bill_bast_interview.html William Bast recalls the making of "
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