It's a long way, going from a ten dollar a fight boxer to becoming the author of one of the most popular plays of an era, but N. Richard Nash made the transition seamlessly.
Born in Philadelphia, Nash floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee before deciding to drop his gloves in favor of a pen, entering the University of Philadelphia to study English and philosophy. After graduating and publishing two successful philosophical works, Nash penned The Second Best Bed in 1946. The Shakespearian-themed comedy brought Nash much acclaim and led to his writing two other dramas before the penning of The Rainmaker in the early '50s. Opening in 1954, the The Rainmaker was so influential that it was not only translated into 40 languages, but was later turned into a popular film, and in turn transformed into the popular Broadway musical 110 in the Shade, which was later revived (starring actor Woody Harrelson) in 1999. Nash wrote the screenplays to such films as The Sainted Sisters (1948) and Porgy and Bess (1959) throughout the late '40s and into the 1950s, and continued to exercise his pen until his final screenplay, Between the Darkness and the Dawn, in 1985. Though he would pen other Broadway musicals such as Sarava and Wildcat, as well as novels including East Wind, Rain and The Wildwood, it was The Rainmaker that would maintain its hold as Nash's defining work. On December 1, 2000, N. Richard Nash died in Manhattan. He was 87.