George S. Kaufman

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George Simon Kaufman (November 16, 1889 – June 2, 1961) was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Born to a Jewish family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania he graduated from high school in 1907 and "tried law school for three months" but grew disenchanted and took on a series of odd jobs, including "selling hatbands".[1] Kaufman then began his career as a journalist and drama critic; he was the drama editor for The New York Times from 1917 through 1930.[1] Nearly a decade later he achieved great success as a playwright. Kaufman took his editorial responsibilities very seriously. According to legend, on one occasion a press agent asked: "How do I get our leading lady’s name in the Times?" Kaufman: "Shoot her."[2]

Career

Theatre

Kaufman's Broadway debut was September 4, 1918 at the Knickerbocker Theatre, with the premiere of the melodrama Someone in the House.[3][4] Kaufman coauthored the play with Walter C. Percival, based on a magazine story written by Larry Evans.[5] The play opened on Broadway (running for only 32 performances) during that year's serious flu epidemic, when people were being advised to avoid crowds. With "dour glee", Kaufman suggested that the best way to avoid crowds in New York City was to attend his play.[6]

In every Broadway season from 1921 through 1958, there was a play written or directed by Kaufman. Since Kaufman's death in 1961,[6] there have been revivals of his work on Broadway in the 1970s, the 1980s, and in the 2000s.[7]

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