George S. Kaufman

Active - 1924 - 1957  |   Born - Nov 16, 1889   |   Died - Jun 2, 1961   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Pulitzer prize-winning playwright George Kaufman has co-written many distinguished plays alone and in conjunction with such writers as Ring Lardner, Moss Hart, Edna Ferber and Mark Connelly. Many of Kaufman's plays have been adapted into films including Merton of the Movies(1924, 1947), Animal Crackers (1930), You Can't Take It with You (1938), and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1941). His popularity led to many offers to work in Hollywood, but Kaufman never concealed his disdain for Tinseltown moguls and the way they treated screenwriters. In the early '30s, he finally allowed Sam Goldwyn to convince him to write a comedy script for an Eddie Cantor film, Roman Scandals (1933). While writing the script with Robert E. Sherwood, Kaufman was greatly annoyed by Cantor who kept interfering. By the time the first draft was completed, Kaufman was so fed up that he left the project. In 1935, Kaufman returned to co-pen the script for A Night at the Opera with Morrie Ryskind. Though the film was a smash and earned him a small fortune, Kaufman was not interested in remaining in Hollywood and so went back to New York. He again returned in 1947, directing his first and last film, The Senator Was Indiscreet.

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