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Kaufman, George S/Ferber, Edna


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GEORGE S. KAUFMAN was born in Pittsburgh in 1889. During his early career as a reporter and drama critic , he began to write for the theatre. For 40 years, beginning in 1921 with the production of Dulcy, there was rarely a year without a Kaufman play — usually written in collaboration. His only full-length plays written alone were The Butter and Egg Man and Hollywood Pinafore. A master craftsman of the theatre with a keen eye for comedy and satire, Kaufman was frequently brought in by producers to transform the script of a promising play into that of a hit. He was equally adept in almost all varieties of theatre — social satire, as in Dinner At Eight (with Edna Ferber); revues, as in The Band Wagon (with Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz); musicals, as in the 1931 Pulitzer Prize-winning Of Thee I Sing (with Morrie Ryskind and George and Ira Gershwin), I’d Rather Be Right (with Moss Hart, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart) and The Cocoanuts (with Irving Berlin); and comedies, such as Once In A Lifetime, The Man Who Came To Dinner, and the 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning You Can’t Take It With You (all written with Moss Hart), The Royal Family (with Edna Ferber) and The Solid Gold Cadillac (with Howard Teichmann). With Morrie Ryskind, he also wrote the screenplays for the Marx Brothers’ films The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera. Mr. Kaufman also directed some two dozen of his own plays plus The Front Page, Of Mice and Men, My Sister Eileen and Guys And Dolls. Mr. Kaufman died in New York City in 1961 at the age of 71. / Edna Ferber (1887-1968) was an American novelist and playwright whose camera-like regional descriptions and vigorous portraiture of ordinary men and women made her one of the most popular authors of the early 20th century. Her first professional writing was done for newspapers in Wisconsin and, later, Chicago. In 1911, she began publishing fiction, with initial fame coming from a series of short stories about Emma McChesney, a traveling saleswoman. In 1925, Miss Ferber won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel So Big (1924). Her other novels include Dawn O’Hara (1919), The Girls (1921), Show Boat (1926), Cimarron (1930), Come and Get It (1934), Saratoga Trunk (1941), Giant (1952), and Ice Palace (1958). With George S. Kaufman, she co-authored some of the most successful plays of the period: The Royal Family (1927), Dinner At Eight (1932), Stage Door (1936) And The Land Is Bright (1941). Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern famously adapted Ferber’s Show Boat into a landmark musical in 1927.