Howard Oliver Sackler, was an American screenwriter and playwright who is best known for writing The Great White Hope. The Great White Hope enjoyed both a successful run on Broadway and, as a film adaptation, in movie theaters. James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander both starred in the original Arena Stage production of the play in Washington, DC, then brought their roles to Broadway and later to the film version. Both Jones and Alexander received Academy Award nominations for their work in the movie.
Born in New York City and a graduate of Brooklyn College, Sackler was the recipient of many awards and prestigious grants including both a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Drama, and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for The Great White Hope. Prior to this, Sackler won the Maxwell Anderson Award and Chicago's Sergel Award. In addition, he was the recipient of grants from both the Rockefeller Foundation and the Littauer Foundation. The original production for The Great White Hope, produced at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, was substantially funded by two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Broadway production, however, was funded, at least in part, by Sackler himself using $225,000 from his screenwriting proceeds for the film version.