The ultimate scribe of the gangster and the gunman. As a young man in the 1920s he worked as a night clerk in sleazy Chicago hotel. He hung around with hustlers, hoodlums and they inspired him to write the phenomenally successful novel LITTLE CAESAR in 1929. The 1931 film version propelled Edward G. Robinson to stardom and led to Burnett’s successful screenwriting career.
Here’s a list of just a few of his legendary films: BEAST OF THE CITY, SCARFACE, HIGH SIERRA, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, COLORADO TERRITORY, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, THE RACKET, and THE GREAT ESCAPE.
He got an Academy Award nomination for his script for WAKE ISLAND (1942) and a Writers Guild nomination for co-authoring the script for THE GREAT ESCAPE with James Clavell (1963).