Well, it has officially happened. I’ve lapped myself. When I checked to see who’s birthday it was today in preparation for this blog I saw Cole Porter and thought “Cool, a music day! I love Cole Porter.” Then I thought “Wait a minute… didn’t I already do Cole Porter?” I checked. Yep. I did. LAST YEAR, and while I’ve still got him under my skin, I think I’d better profile some one else today. So how about… Aaron Sorkin?
“There’s a great tradition in storytelling that’s thousands of years old, telling stories about kings and their palaces, and that’s really what I wanted to do.” — Aaron Sorkin
“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, ‘You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy, I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?’ and I really, really don’t. I’ll go peaceable-like.”— Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Benjamin Sorkin was born on this day in New York City, New York, USA in 1961. He is 52 years old.
He grew up in the affluent suburb of Scarsdale, New York. His first love was acting. He was involved in theatre at Scarsdale High School and went on to major in Musical Theatre at Syracuse University. When he graduated in 1979 he moved to New York City and tied to break into the theatre scene there, but with little success. After a few years of odd jobs he discovered his writing talents.
His first professionally staged play, Hidden in This Picture, was debuted at the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theatre Bar in 1998.He later adapted the one-act into a full-length show called Making Movies.
His sister, Deborah, who was working as a Navy Judge Advocate General, gave him the idea for A Few Good Men. She told her little brother about a trip she was about to take to Cuba to interview Marines at Guantanamo Bay. The conversations served as the bones for the story which Sorkin wrote on cocktail napkins while he was tending bar. At home he translated those notes into the script to A Few Good Men. The movie rights were sold before the play saw its Broadway premier (1989). Sorkin rewrote the play as a screenplay. The film, wiht Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore was released in 1992.
Malice (1993), with Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin, and The American President (1995), with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning, followed.
Sorkin worked though much of the rest of the 1990s as a script doctor on various other film projects.
He found his stride with Sports Night, a comedy that ran for two seasons on ABC. Sports Night is one of the best written shows to ever grace Prime Time. Fast, witty, intelligent, beautifully acted — it’s a wonder it lasted 2 seasons.
His next offering was better received. The West Wing won a total of nine Emmy Awards just in its first season. He wrote almost all the of show’s episodes for the first four seasons before leaving.
In 2006 he delved behind the scenes of a late night sketch comedy show in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The show, while highly anticipated, didn’t make it past the first season, and Sorkin went back to the theatre, writing The Farnsworth Invention. The play won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best midsize production.
He returned to screenwriting for Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), The Social Network (2010) and Money Ball (2011). He won an Academy Award for his screenplay for The Social Network.
Then TV came calling again, this time in the form of the cable giant HBO. Last June The Newsroom, a behind the scenes look at a fictional cable news show, premiered. The show, which stars Jeff Daniels, features Sorkin’s signature ‘walk and talk’ tracking shots and quick fire dialog. The show begins its second season next month.
- Behold, Aaron Sorkin’s Office (eyeoncelebs.com)
- Aaron Sorkin’s Millennial Problem: ‘The Newsroom: The Complete First Season’ (Column) (popmatters.com)
- Aaron Sorkin’s Office Is Better Than Yours Will Ever Be (laist.com)