Herman Jacob Mankiewicz was a screenwriter for American films in the early to mid-1900. A large volume of his work done by him in that era was not in fact credited to him since he was often asked to edit or add to screenplays written by others. His distinguishing writing feature was his satirical wit that led to many proclaiming him one of the funniest people in the film business at that time.
He began his writing career as a correspondent for The Chicago Tribune before moving on to writing pieces on drama and theater for The New York Times and later The New Yorker. He was so good at it and caught the attention of film producer Walter Wanger, who gave him his break in Hollywood. Perhaps his greatest work came in collaboration with Orson Welles in the movie Citizen Kane.
The film tells the story of a publisher who gets into the business to change the world but ends up drunk on power to the point that he keeps chasing it. The film was a super-hit and got included in the list of the greatest films ever made and even won Welles and Mankiewicz an Oscar Award for Best Writing – Original Screenplay. Aside from Citizen Kane, Mankiewicz is also best known for his work on The Wizard of Oz. Mankiewicz was quite the worker; when he was the head of the scenario department of Paramount, he worked hard on some films. Since a lot of the work he did went unacknowledged, the exact number of films he worked on is unknown.
However, estimates suggest he worked on nearly eighty films during his lifetime. He is best known for his sense of humor combined with a satirical wit that got the tag of the "Mankiewicz humor.’’ It helped his films stand apart from the pack and today he is considered as one of the greatest writers at the beginning of the Sound Era. His films revolved around the wit and comedy of the dialogues to hold the storylines together.
His style was so popular it went on to define what is now seen as the typical American movie of the time. Mankiewicz died at the age of 55 due to complications caused by his hardcore alcoholism. He had been a heavy drinker since his early adulthood as he struggled to live up to the expectations set for him by his father. Nevertheless, his provision as one of the greatest screenwriters in the 1900's remains intact.