Distinguished Alumni Award


Richard Maibaum, 31BA, 32MA

Achievement Award 1989

Richard Maibaum, 31BA, 32MA, Phi Beta Kappa, is a native New Yorker who attended the University of Iowa and then went on to a remarkable career in the entertainment world. He attributes his motivation to the legendary E. C. Mabie, his Iowa mentor, whom he described as "a powerhouse who didn't suffer fools, shirkers, or phonies gladly."

Maibaum has been involved as a writer or producer in more than 60 motion pictures, including 13 James Bond films. He has also written four Broadway plays and was active in television.

After receiving his master's degree from the UI, Maibaum headed to New York and acted in 15 plays with the Shakespearean Repertory Theatre. In 1935, MGM brought him to Hollywood.

During World War II, Maibaum headed the U.S. Army's Industrial Film Unit before becoming director of the Combat Films Division with the final rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war, he joined Paramount, where he was involved in nine films, including The Great Gatsby, O.S.S., and The Big Clock. Later, at other studios in the United States and England, a few of his screenplays were Ransom, Bigger Than Life, and The Cockleshell Heroes. From 1958-60, Maibaum served as executive producer on MGM-TV.

Then came the opportunity to write scripts for the Bond movies. The rest is history. Starting with Dr. No, Maibaum helped bring the suave British secret agent 007 to life with spicy one-liners and stirring derring-do. Half the people in the world have seen a Bond film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has called the Bond movies, "the greatest series in the history of motion pictures." Among them are From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and The Spy Who Loved Me. His latest, License To Kill, written with Michael G. Wilson, will be released in July.

Maibaum has received two Writer's Guild of America nominations, two Mystery Writers of America special Edgar Allan Poe awards, and an Emmy nomination for best written teleplay.

Throughout the years, he has remained a loyal friend to the University, returning to the campus at times to try out new plays and to share his expertise with students and faculty.


About Distinguished Alumni Awards

Since 1963, the University of Iowa has annually recognized accomplished alumni and friends with Distinguished Alumni Awards. Awards are presented in seven categories: Achievement, Service, Hickerson Recognition, Faculty, Staff, Recent Graduate, and Friend of the University.


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Thought to be the only national literary honor selected by students, the prize is accompanied by a $10,000 award for the first time this year thanks to a new partnership between the UI Nonfiction Writing Program and the Kyle J. and Sharon Krause Family Foundation. Shawn Wen, winner of the 2018 Krause Essay Prize, is the author of A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis. This year's Krause Essay Prize recipient is Shawn Wen, a San Francisco-based multimedia artist and the author of A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause (Sarabande Books, 2017), a book-length essay on the life of French mime Marcel Marceau. Wen, whom students selected from a pool of 14 nominees, accepted her award at a ceremony in September in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. 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