While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

SOBIESKI, CAROL O'BRIEN (1939–1990). Carol O'Brien Sobieski, television and film writer, was born on March 16, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Frank Thomas and Emeline (Bush) O'Brien. When she was five the family moved to the Texas Panhandle and took over operation of the Frying Pan Ranch, near Amarillo. Carol's father was a lawyer, and her mother was a painter, politician, and teacher. Carol attended public schools in Amarillo until entering a private high school in Connecticut. She later earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's in literature from Trinity College, Dublin. In 1964 she married James Louis Sobieski, a lawyer; the couple had three children. After her marriage, Mrs. Sobieski did some acting in community theaters but soon became interested in writing for television in Los Angeles. In 1964 she was hired by MGM as a scriptwriter for the television series "Mr. Novak." She also wrote scripts for "The Mod Squad" and "Peyton Place." Her writing credits for television movies included The Neon Ceiling, Sunshine, Sunshine Christmas, Amelia Earhart, and Harry Truman: Plain Speaking. In the 1980s Sobieski became known for her film screenplays, which included Annie and Honeysuckle Rose. During her career she received awards from the Writers Guild, Women in TV and Film, and the San Francisco Film Festival. Although she lived her adult life away from Texas, she maintained her ties to Amarillo. The premiere showing of Honeysuckle Rose was held there in 1980 and featured an appearance by the movie's star, Willie Nelson. Proceeds from the event benefited a scholarship fund at Amarillo College. Several years later a similar premiere of Winter People, for which Sobieski also wrote the screenplay, raised money for the Amarillo College Foundation. Her last work was preparing the screenplay for Fried Green Tomatoes. Carol Sobieski died of liver disease at age fifty-one in Santa Monica, California, on November 4, 1990. She was buried in Amarillo. Survivors included her husband, one son, two daughters, and one sister. Amarillo College maintains a scholarship fund in her name.

Amarillo Daily News, November 7, 1990. Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television (Detroit: Gale Research, 1984).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, "SOBIESKI, CAROL O'BRIEN," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsoup.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...