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David Scott Milton's Biography

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Tehachapi, CA
Aug 2008

David Scott Milton is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. His plays are known for their theatricality, wild humor, and poetic realism, while his novels and films are darker and more naturalistic. As a novelist, he has been compared to Graham Greene, John Steinbeck, and Nelson Algren. Ben Gazzara’s performance in Milton’s play, Duet, received a Tony nomination. Another play, Skin, won the Neil Simon Playwrights Award. His theater piece, Murderers Are My Life, was nominated as best one-man show by the Valley Theater League of Los Angeles. His second novel, Paradise Road, was given the Mark Twain Journal award "for significant contribution to American literature."

His plays have been produced around the world, most recently in Nova Scotia and Germany. Bread, which debuted at The American Place Theater in New York, had a successful run at the Municipal Theater in Dortmund, Germany. Duet which opened on Broadway in the mid-seventies also had productions in German at the Kreis Theater in Vienna, Austria. In the spring of 1996, it had its premier in Germany at the Düsseldorf Schauspeilhaus. A new play, Catching a Cab, under the auspices of Gustav Kiepenheuer, has also been optioned for German production.

Milton was an early member of the avant-garde Theater Genesis, along with Sam Shepard, Leonard Melfi and Murray Mednick. He has had more than a dozen plays performed Off-Off-Broadway including The Interrogation Room, Halloween Mask, The Metaphysical Cop, and Scraping Bottom. Scraping Bottom, under the title of Born to Win, became the Czech director Ivan Passer's first American film, and starred George Segal, Karen Black and Paula Prentiss. Pauline Kael has characterized this title change as perhaps the most extreme in the history of American cinema.

Other plays were Duet for Solo Voice and Bread at the American Place Theater and a revised version of Duet for Solo Voice, re-titled Duet, on Broadway with Ben Gazzara. In Los Angeles, Skin, for which Mr. Milton won the Neil Simon Playwrights Award, ran for nearly a year at The Odyssey Theater.

He has had six novels published: The Quarterback (Dell), Paradise Road (Atheneum), Kabbalah (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich), Skyline (Putnam's), The Fat Lady Sings (iUniverse), Iron City (White Whisker Books). His plays, Duet, and Skin are also in print.

Mr. Milton’s short stories have appeared in The Southern California Anthology, The Pearl River Review, The Southern (Lafayette, Louisiana) Anthology, among others.

His adaptation of David Hare's Knuckle was seen on PBS television. Other television work includes a stint as story editor on Starsky and Hutch and scripts for the John Houseman syndicated show, Tales of the Unexpected.

He has written screenplays for directors, Peter Bogdanovich, Ivan Passer, Sidney Pollack, Dick Richards, and Irv Kershner.
Since 1977, he has been a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. He also teaches screenwriting in the cinema department.

He has been a special lecturer at Goddard College and at CalArts, as well as consultant to the creative writing program at The University of South Alabama and literary consultant to Scott, Foresman Publishers, and Warner Books. In the recent past he has conducted screenwriting seminars at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin and the Duke University Film and Television Program. He is a member of the advisory board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation along with, among others, David Hockney, Michael York, John Schlessinger, and Armistead Maupin.

For thirteen years, until 2004, he ran a writers' workshop on the Maximum Security Yard of the California Correctional Institution at Tehachapi where his class consisted of a dozen murderers. He mounted a one man show, “Murderers Are My Life”, based on his prison experiences which ran for four month at The Two Roads Theater in Studio City, CA. It was also seen at The Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls, New York in October of last year and The Studio Theater in Manhattan.


Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Nelson Algren, Richard Yates, Harold Pinter, James Joyce, Georges Simenon, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, William Shakespeare, Vladimir Nabokov

Upcoming Works

Novel, "Iron City"; film of novel, "The Fat Lady Sings"; new play, "Destiny"; revival of play, "Duet for Solo Voice": special excerpt of "Duet for Solo Voice" as part of Theater for the New City's Lower East Side Festival of the Arts on Sunday, May 24 at 9:50 pm. Full production Theater for the New City, September 24 to October 11, 2009, directed by Stanley Allan Sherman ;and starring Jonothan Slaff.


Film, Marty Shapiro, 310 859 8877 Novels, Mike Hamilburg,310 471 4024

Recommended Links


Dell; Atheneum; Harcourt,Brace,Jovanovich; Putnams; Authors Guild Backinprint

Interests & Hobbies

Books, theater, film, opera, baseball, football, boxing, jazz, R&B, rock-and-roll, polkas. Growing trees.