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James R. Webb
|Born||October 4, 1909|
Denver, Colorado, US
|Died||September 27, 1974 (aged 64)|
|Resting place||Los Angeles National Cemetery|
|Awards||Best Original Screenplay|
1963 How the West Was Won
Webb was born in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from Stanford University in 1930. During the 1930s he worked both as a screenwriter and a fiction writer for a number of national magazines, including Collier's Weekly, Cosmopolitan and the Saturday Evening Post.
Webb's early screenplays were written for Republic Pictures. He did a series of films starring Roy Rogers and directed by Joseph Kane: Nevada City (1941), Bad Man of Deadwood (1941), Jesse James at Bay (1941) and South of Santa Fe (1942) with Roy Rogers. He also did Rags to Riches (1941) directed by Kane.
Webb was commissioned an army officer in June 1942 and became a personal aide to General Lloyd R. Fredendall who was commander of the II Corps (United States). Webb accompanied Fredendall to England in October 1942 and participated in the invasion of North Africa in November 1942 when the Second Corps captured the city of Oran. The Second Corps then attacked eastward into Tunisia. In February 1943 the German army launched a counterattack at Kasserine Pass which repulsed the Second Corps and nearly broke through the Allied lines. The Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower relieved Fredendall of command in March 1943 and sent him back to the United States where he became deputy commander of the Second United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee.
Webb returned to the United States with Fredendall and later served in the European Theater.
He also wrote Close to My Heart (1951) based on his own novel, Operation Secret (1952), The Iron Mistress (1952) for Alan Ladd, The Charge at Feather River (1953) a 3-D film, and Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954).
Webb had a big hit with two films for Burt Lancaster and Robert Aldrich: Apache (1954) and Vera Cruz (1954). He wrote episodes of The Millionaire and Cheyenne and Illegal (1955) with Edgar G. Robinson.
Less well received were Kings of the Sun (1963) for the Mirisch Brothers and Cheyenne Autumn (1964) for John Ford. He wrote an early draft of Chinese Finale that became 7 Women, Ford's last film, but Webb is not credited in the final movie.
In March 1974 the American Writers Guild awarded him the Morgan Award for services to the guild.
He died on September 27, 1974, and was buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery. He was survived by a wife, a son and a daughter.