Fay Kanin, 'Teacher's Pet' screenwriter, dies at 95

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LOS ANGELES -- Fay Kanin, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for the 1958 Clark Gable-Doris Day comedy "Teacher's Pet" and former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, died Wednesday. She was 95.

In a writing career that spanned more than four decades, Kanin wrote screenplays for movies such as the 1954 Elizabeth Taylor romantic drama "Rhapsody" and television specials such as "Tell Me Where It Hurts," for which she won two Emmy Awards in 1974. She won another Emmy in 1979 for producing "Friendly Fire," a critically acclaimed Carol Burnett TV movie based on the true story of an American soldier killed in the Vietnam War.

Kanin was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1979 to 1983, and was its second female president after actress Bette Davis. Kanin also was a longtime chairwoman of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

She died of natural causes at her home in Santa Monica, Calif., a caretaker said.

As a screenwriter who got her start in the early 1940s, Kanin was a pioneering figure in an industry then dominated by men.

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she and husband Michael Kanin, the late Oscar-winning screenwriter, were placed on a so-called gray list -- a less formal and severe version of the anti-Communist Hollywood blacklist. The Kanins, who were friends with Communist Party members, were denied work for about two years in the early 1950s.

In 1986, upon receiving an honor from the Genii Awards, which recognized the achievements of women working in the entertainment business, Kanin said that it was important to "choose projects you believe in, and fight whatever battles are necessary to get them realized."

Kanin often collaborated on scripts with her husband, who shared the Oscar for best original screenplay with Ring Lardner Jr. in 1942 for "Woman of the Year." (Michael Kanin's younger brother Garson Kanin was a screenwriter whose wife, Ruth Gordon, won the Oscar for best supporting actress for "Rosemary's Baby.")

Fay and Michael Kanin shared the best original screenplay Oscar nomination for "Teacher's Pet," which centers on an ornery newspaper editor played by Gable who falls for an idealistic journalism instructor played by Day.

Kanin said in 2001 that "Teacher's Pet" was originally written as a serious film, but she and her husband found no takers for the script. Rewritten by the couple as a comedy, the project sold to Paramount Pictures.

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