Academy Award-winning writer Charles Schnee used his aversion to stereotypes to create the characters in Red River (1948), The Furies (1950), Westward the Women (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), for which he won the Oscar, and Butterfield 8 (1960).

He drew upon a ranching experience in Wyoming to create realistic westerns, shunning the formulaic hero-versus-villain picture in favor of what he called the “big Western.” “In the ‘big Western,’” he wrote, “the struggle is that of man against the elements, as in Red River, or of man against his fate, as in The Furies. The conflict is no longer easy, but it has adult appeal. The average adult today doesn’t meet many villains in his time, but he has a keen sense of struggling against forces in the world he doesn’t quite understand.”

As WGAw president, he urged screenwriters to write parts for African-Americans that portrayed them “as they exist on the American scene.”

Schnee was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1916. He earned a law degree from Yale University, and was a lawyer in New York. He wrote two Broadway plays before moving to L.A. Schnee died on November 29, 1962.