Born in Russia to Lithuanian parents, Samuel Hoffenstein emigrated to the U.S. in his teens. Hoffenstein served as drama critic for the New York Evening Sun before embarking upon a screenwriting career in Hollywood. His first stop was at Paramount, where he earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1931 adaptation of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Loaned to RKO in 1934, Hoffenstein picked up a second nomination for his musical adaptations in the Astaire-Rogers vehicle The Gay Divorcee. He went on to script several films for director Julien Duvivier, including The Great Waltz (1938), Lydia (1941), Tales of Manhattan (1942), and Flesh and Fantasy (1943). Samuel Hoffenstein rounded out his career at 20th Century-Fox, writing for top directors ranging from Otto Preminger (Laura) to Ernst Lubitsch (Cluny Brown).