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Peter Viertel


Well-known for his novel-turned-screenplay Light Hunter Black Center, he’s also known for his screenwriting contributions to Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur and John Huston’s The African Queen and We Were Strangers. Twelve months before graduating from Dartmouth University, he released his debut book, The Canyon. Through the Globe Battle II years, he enlisted within the U.S. Sea Corps and eventually proved helpful for the U.S. Workplace of Strategic Providers (OSS). Viertel’s entire body and demeanor motivated Robert Redford’s portrayal of Hubbell Gardiner within the strike 1973 film JUST HOW We Were. Among three sons blessed to Austrian-Jewish authors Berthold and Salka Viertel, Peter Viertel spent his start in Dresden, Germany, and the majority of his youth in Santa Monica, California, U.S.A. Along with his initial wife, celebrity Virginia Ray (a.k.a. Jigee Viertel), he previously a daughter called Christine. His second relationship, to screen celebrity Deborah Kerr, lasted from 1960 until Kerr’s loss of life in Oct of 2007 (he passed away simply three weeks afterwards). He modified two of Ernest Hemingway’s books, SUNLIGHT Also Rises as well as the Aged Man and the ocean, into 1950s movies of the same game titles.

Quick Facts

Full Name Peter Viertel
Date Of Birth November 16, 1920
Died November 4, 2007, Marbella, Spain
Place Of Birth Germany
Profession Novelist
Education Dartmouth College
Nationality American, German
Spouse Deborah Kerr, Virginia Ray "Jigee" Schulberg, Deborah Kerr, Virginia Ray "Jigee" Schulberg
Children Christine Viertel
Parents Salka Viertel, Berthold Viertel
Siblings Hans Viertel, Thomas Viertel
Movies White Hunter Black Heart, The African Queen, Saboteur, The Old Man and the Sea, We Were Strangers, Decision Before Dawn, The Sun Also Rises, Beat the Devil, The Night Heaven Fell, Roughshod, The Hard Way, Five Miles to Midnight, The Village
Star Sign Scorpio

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1Stepfather-in-law of John Shrapnel.
2Step-grandfather of Joe Shrapnel, Lex Shrapnel and Tom Shrapnel.
3Stepfather of Francesca Shrapnel and Melanie Bartley.
4Brother-in-law of Ted Trimmer.
5In his memoir, "Dangerous Friends", Viertel states that although he was separated from his first wife since 1952, he did not actually get a legal divorce. When his first wife died in Jan. 1960, Peter then married Deborah Kerr 6 months later (on the day after Kerr's own divorce was legally finalized). Veirtel wrote that on his marriage certificate to Kerr, for his "status" he filled in the word "widower", because it was true. Peter Veirtel and his first wife, Jigee, had one daughter, Christine, born in 1952.
6Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Volume 52, pages 449-451. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1996.
7His first wife had been married to writer Budd Schulberg.
8Died 20 days after the death of his wife, actress Deborah Kerr. It was said that her death affected him immensely.
9His 1950s novel, "White Hunter, Black Heart" is, by his own admission, a thinly-disguised account of his adventures whilst working uncredited on the script of The African Queen (1951), and, in White Hunter Black Heart (1990), the 1990 film version, Jeff Fahey plays "Peter Verrill", an obvious self-portrait.
10Viertel is also, some have alleged, the model for the character played by Robert Redford in The Way We Were (1973), whilst the Barbra Streisand character in the same film is said to be based on his first wife, Jigee.
11Is thought to have made uncredited contributions to the screenplay of The Journey (1959).
12Son of writer/actress Salka Viertel and writer Berthold Viertel.



White Hunter Black Heart1990novel / screenplay
Le couteau dans la plaie1962adaptation / screenplay
The Old Man and the Sea1958writer
The Night Heaven Fell1958uncredited
The Sun Also Rises1957screenplay
The Survivors1957TV Movie
Lux Video Theatre1957TV Series original screenplay - 1 episode
Beat the Devil1953screenplay collaboration - uncredited
The Village1953screenplay
The African Queen1951uncredited
Decision Before Dawn1951screenplay
Studio One in Hollywood1950TV Series story - 1 episode
We Were Strangers1949screenplay
The Search1948draft - uncredited
The Hard Way1943screen play
Saboteur1942original screen play






Greta Garbo: A Lone Star2001TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Orson Welles en el país de Don Quijote2000TV Movie documentaryHimself
Àngels de nit1996TV SeriesHimself
¡Qué grande es el cine!1995TV SeriesHimself
Moving Pictures1995TV Series documentaryHimself
3x41990TV SeriesHimself
The David Frost Show1971TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1964-1971TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles2014DocumentaryHimself

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