Zoë Akins

Active - 1925 - 1953  |   Born - Oct 30, 1886   |   Died - Oct 29, 1958   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Raised in Missouri, Ms. Akins got her start by submitting poems and short stories to the St. Louis Mirror. She wrote her first Broadway play, The Magical City, in 1919, but it was her second theatrical piece, the Ethel Barrymore vehicle Declassee, which made her famous. Ms. Akins' arch, mannered writing style was not to everyone's taste; she was a favorite target of male theatrical critics, one of whom summed up her output as "The Curse of an Akins Heart." Still, her plays enjoyed great popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, none more so than her 1930 Broadway hit The Greeks Had a Word for It, the story of three gold-digging girls on the prowl for millionaire husbands (the play was filmed twice, the last time in 1953 as How to Marry a Millionaire). For her 1935 stage adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel The Old Maid, Akins won the Pulitzer Prize-an unpopular decision, correctly perceived as a deliberate slap in the face to Lillian Hellman, whose controversial The Children's Hour was also in competition that year. Her screenplay for Morning Glory (1933) was instrumental in securing an Academy Award for star Katharine Hepburn. Zoe Akins' final film credit was the 1947 MGM romantic melodrama Desire Me

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