Irwin Shaw (February 27, 1913 – May 16, 1984) was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author.
Shaw was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in the South Bronx, New York City, to Russian-Jewish immigrants. His parents were Rose and Will. His younger brother, David Shaw (died 2007), became a noted Hollywood producer. Shortly after Irwin's birth, the Shamforoffs moved to Brooklyn. Irwin changed his surname upon entering college. He spent most of his youth in Brooklyn, where he graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1934. Shaw died in Davos, Switzerland on May 16, 1984, aged 71, after undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Shaw began screenwriting in 1935 at the age of 21, and scripted for several radio shows, including Dick Tracy, The Gumps and Studio One. He recaptured this period of his life in his short story "Main Currents of American Thought," about a hack radio writer grinding out one script after another while calculating the number of words equal to the rent money:
Shaw's first play, Bury the Dead (1936) was an expressionist drama about a group of soldiers killed in a battle who refuse to be buried. During the 1940s, Shaw...