Literary Birthday – 29 January – Paddy Chayefsky

Paddy Chayefsky was born 29 January 1923 and died 1 August 1981.


  1. The best thing that can happen is for the theme to be nice and clear from the beginning.
  2. The three-act structure is the form that I grew up in the theatre with. You generally present a situation in Act I, and by the end of Act I the situation has evolved to a point where something is threatening the situation. In Act II you solve that problem producing a more intense problem by the end of Act II. In Act III you solve that problem, either happily or unhappily, depending on whether you have a comedy or a tragedy or a drama: you work out the final solution accordingly.
  3. Artists don’t talk about art. Artists talk about work. If I have anything to say to young writers, it’s stop thinking of writing as art. Think of it as work.
  4. The worst kind of censorship is the kind that takes place in your own mind before you sit down to a typewriter.
  5. Americans don’t want drama, especially good drama, they just want their boredom killed.

Paddy Chayefsky was an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. He won three Academy Awards for writing both adapted and original screenplays for Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971) and Network (1976). He was known for the popularisation of the television drama in the 1950s and he is one of the most renowned dramatists of the Golden Age of Television. He is the author of Altered States.

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 28th January 2020