Howard Hawks (May 30, 1896 - December 26, 1977) was an American film director, producer and writer of the classic Hollywood era.
He was born Howard Winchester Hawks in Goshen, Indiana. He died in Palm Springs, California, from the aftermath of a fall.
Hawks was known for his versatility as a director, filming comedies, dramas, gangster films, sci-fi, pulp noir, and Westerns with equal ease and skill. Hawks' own functional definition of what constitutes a "good movie" is revealing of his no-nonsense style: "Three great scenes, no bad ones."
Critic Leonard Maltin has labelled Hawks "the greatest American director who is not a household name," noting that, while his work may not be as well known as Ford, Welles, or Hitchcock, he is no less a talented filmmaker.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Howard Hawks has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street.
Hawks was notorious for fabricating stories about the movie business, usually in a way which inflated his already considerable contributions to it. One such story has it that Hawks told Ernest Hemingway that he could make a good movie out of the worst thing that Hemingway had ever written, at which point Hemingway challenged him to make a movie out of To Have and Have Not.
Hawks' unpretentious and straightforward directorial style and the use of natural, conversational dialogue in his films have subsequently been a major influence on many noted filmmakers, including John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino.
Although originally dismissed by the more intellectual critics in the English-speaking world (especially in the United Kingdom, where his work was virtually ignored by Sight and Sound), Hawks was idolised and taken very seriously indeed by the French critics associated with Cahiers du CinÃ©ma in the 1950s, and this spread to the United Kingdom where Hawks became an icon for Ian Cameron, Robin Wood and the other critics associated with Movie.
Hawks was married three times, to Athole Shearer (a sister of movie actress Norma Shearer), Nancy Gross (better and later known as Slim Keith, she was the mother of his daughter, Kitty Hawks, a noted interior designer), and Dee Hartford (an actress whose real name was Donna Higgins).