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Joseph McBride (writer)

For other people of the same name, see Joseph McBride (disambiguation).
Joseph Pierce McBride
Born August 9, 1947
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Ethnicity Irish American
Employer San Francisco State University
Notable work Searching for John Ford
Steven Spielberg: A Biography
Home town Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Partner(s) Ann Weiser Cornell
Awards Writers Guild of America Award

Joseph McBride (born August 9, 1947) is an American film historian, biographer, screenwriter and professor in the Cinema Department at San Francisco State University.

Early life and early career

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, McBride grew up in the suburb of Wauwatosa. He attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and worked as a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, before moving to California in 1973.


McBride has published 17 books since 1968, including acclaimed biographies of Steven Spielberg, Frank Capra, Orson Welles, and John Ford. His books include Orson Welles (1972; 1996), The Book of Movie Lists: An Offbeat, Provocative Collection of the Best and Worst of Everything in Movies (1999), and What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career (2006).

In 2012, McBride published two books, Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless, and an updated third edition of his 1997 book Steven Spielberg: A Biography from Faber and Faber in London. A second edition of the Spielberg book had been published in 2011 by the University Press of Mississippi, which also reprinted his biographies Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success (1992; 2000) and Searching for John Ford (2001). The Spielberg book was published in translation in mainland China in 2012.

McBride's most recent work is Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J. D. Tippit, published by Hightower Press in June 2013. In the fall of 2013, the University Press of Kentucky will reprint McBride's classic interview book with director Howard Hawks, Hawks on Hawks (1982).

Screen work

McBride's screenwriting credits include the movies Rock 'n' Roll High School and Blood and Guts and five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials on CBS-TV dealing with Fred Astaire, Frank Capra, Lillian Gish, John Huston, and James Stewart. He was also cowriter of the United States Information Agency worldwide live TV special Let Poland Be Poland (1982).

McBride plays a film critic, Mr. Pister, in the legendary unfinished Orson Welles feature The Other Side of the Wind (1970–76). McBride is also the coproducer of the documentaries Obsessed with "Vertigo": New Life for Hitchcock's Masterpiece (1997) and John Ford Goes to War (2002).

Awards and honors

McBride received the Writers Guild of America Award for cowriting The American Film Institute Salute to John Huston with producer George Stevens, Jr. (1983). McBride has also received four other WGA nominations, two Emmy nominations, and a Canadian Film Awards nomination. The French edition of Searching for John Ford, titled A la recherche de John Ford, published in 2007, was chosen the Best Foreign Film Book of the Year by the French film critics' association, le Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma.

A documentary feature on McBride's life and work, Behind the Curtain: Joseph McBride on Writing Film History, written and directed by Hart Perez, had its world debut in 2011 at the Tiburon International Film Festival in Tiburon, Marin County, CA, and was released on DVD in 2012.

Personal life

McBride lives in Berkeley, California. His life partner is author and psychology educator Ann Weiser Cornell.[1]


External links