Walter Bernstein was for many years a regular contributor to The New Yorker, publishing his debut story with the magazine at 19. It was the launch of a long and remarkable career that continues to this day. He wrote for Yank during World War II and was the first Western reporter to travel behind enemy lines to interview then-Yugoslav partisan commander Josip Broz Tito. (In Belgrade, there was a street named after Sgt. Walter Bernstein.)
After the war, he went to Hollywood where he worked with writer-director-producer Robert Rossen and adapted an English thriller called Kiss the Blood off My Hands (1948). He returned to New York to write for a new medium – television – produced live at the time. Bernstein wrote for some of early television’s finest dramatic shows, including “You Are There,” hosted by Walter Cronkite.
His “official” career as a writer was sidelined when he was blacklisted for his political views in 1950. For nine years following his blacklisting, Bernstein’s work in films and television was attributed to others. In 1959, Sidney Lumet, with whom he had worked in television, hired Bernstein under his own name to write That Kind of Woman (1959) starring Sophia Loren.
His best known work as a writer include Fail Safe (1964), The Molly Maguires (1970), The Front (nominated for an Academy Award for 1976), Semi-Tough (1977), and Yanks (1979). Late in his career Bernstein returned to television where he wrote several award winning programs, including Miss Evers’ Boys (1997) and the Doomsday Gun (1994) for HBO. He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Screenwriting at New York University and a Creative Advisor at the Sundance Screenwriting Workshop. Bernstein is the recipient of a Writers Guild of America East Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City with his wife, Gloria Loomis.