John Alexander Kneubuhl
American Samoan Screenwriter
John Alexander Kneubuhl, an accomplished playwright, is the son of a Samoan mother and an American father. On July 2, 1920, John was born in Fagatogo, American Samoa. His father, Benjamin F. Kneubuhl, was a navy surveyor from Iowa who settled in Samoa and later became a successful businessman. John’s mother was Atalina Pritchard from Apia, Samoa.
Raised in the village of Leone in his early teens, John was known as ‘Sione Nupo’ to his family and friends. At 13, John was sent off to Hawaii and attended Punahou School. John continued his education at Yale under the guidance of Thronton Wilder. Soon after his marriage to Dorothy ‘Dotsy’ Schenk, John was selected as a Navy intelligence officer to work with George H. Kerr to compile research on Taiwan Formosa.
Kneubuhl returned to Hawaii in the mid-1940s and won acclaim as a playwright with the Honolulu Community Theater. He wrote and directed the film ‘Damien,’ a biography of Father Damien--a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium described as a ‘Martyr of Charity’ and was canonized on October 11, 2009. Kneubuhl moved to Los Angeles, wrote for television, and created the arch-villain, Dr. Miguelito Loveless, for ‘The Wild Wild West’ series.
Kneubuhl returned to Samoa, taught Polynesian history and culture, and wrote plays, including the trilogy ‘Think of a Garden.’ John passed on the day before the first Samoan reading of his play ‘Think of a Garden’ by his drama and writing group. John and Dorothy had three children. John Kneubuhl was laid to rest on February 20, 1992, at the Kneubuhl Family burial grounds at Taputimu, American Samoa. John was 71 years old.
To list a few of John’s writing and production:
Year Film Year TV Series
1956 Hart of Honolulu 1953 Your Favorite Story
The Screaming Skull 1954 Rheingold Theater
1958 The True Story of Lynn Stuart 1955 TV Reader’s Digest
1959 Doctor Mike 1955-56 Climax!
Front Row Center
General Electric Theater
1965 Two on a Guillotine 1956-57 West Point
1968 The Sunshine Patriot To many TV Series to be listed