Shortly after my father passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s I received a lovely personal letter from the director, Martin Scorsese. My father always called him, Marty. Martin Scorsese always called my father, Professor Wicks.

My father was a DP working in Canada in the early 1960s when he was personally hired to be the first adjunct professor at NYU’s fledgling film school by its founder, Haig Manoogian. My father taught film and Marty was one of his earliest students.

The picture above the text of this story was taken by my father as he supervised one of Marty’s student films. That’s Marty on the right. Later, after the film had been processed and edited, Marty and the other students would bring their films over to our apartment in the village for a showing and critique. This is among my earliest memories, and my introduction to the movies. 

In 1972, my father read a review of Marty’s film, Boxcar Bertha. The movie critic didn’t like it much. My father cut out the review, and pinned it to a bulletin board in our kitchen. When I asked him why, he said, “this young man is going to be a great director. Mark my words.” Marty’s next film was Mean Streets. And the rest is history.

The letter Mary wrote left me with memories of those early days. And whenever I watch one of his movies – which is often – it makes me think of the film’s creative DNA; and it makes me think of my father.

Thank you, Marty!

Personal letter from Martin Scorsese to Senior Colorist Jim Wicks