Friday 10 July 2015

Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett's "The Diary of Anne Frank"

"This play is a part of my life, and the idea that my wife and children as well as I will be presented on the stage is a painful one to me.  Therefore, it is impossible for me to come and see it." (Otto Frank)

The Diary of Anne Frank, based on the diary written by the young girl who went into hiding from the Nazis in an Amersterdam annex during the Second World War, was adapted for the stage by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.  Debuting at the Cort Theatre in 1955, it starrted Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank, Susan Strasberg as Anne, Gusti Huber as Edith Frank, Dennie Moore as Mrs. van Daan and Stephen Press as Peter van Daan.  The production moved to the Ambassador Theatre, also on Broadway, in 1957.  Running for 717 performances, it garnered both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. 

The Diary of Anne Frank premiered simultaneously in seven different German cities on October 1, 1956.  At the end of each night, there was "a long drawn out silence" in the audience.  More than two million Germans attended the play.  The Netherlands' Queen Juliana was in attendance when the Diary of Anne Frank debuted in Amsterdam on November 27, 1956.  

The now famous play was adapted for the big screen and premiered on March 18, 1959, starring Shelley Winters as Mrs. van Daan, a role for which she received Best Supporting Actress.  About four months into filming, a special visitor came to the set.  It was Otto Frank.  She explained;  "We all had lunch with him in our costumes, shabby, smelly, wartime Dutch clothes.  He looked around the table at all the actors who were portraying his friends and family.  He was trembling, and had tears in his eyes." (

Note:  For more information on The Diary of Anne Frank, read my post "How the Red and White Checkered Autograph Book Became a Bestseller" at

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