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Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht

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Also Known As: Rex Conner Died: April 18, 1964
Born: February 28, 1894 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: screenwriter, playwright, novelist, producer, director, child acrobat, child violinist, short storyist, journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the premiere writers of the 20th century, Ben Hecht quickly established himself as a hardboiled, eminently readable Chicago newspaper reporter and columnist. He went on to pen several successful Broadway plays, including "The Front Page," one of the most widely staged productions of its era, and a number of acclaimed books, including both fiction, non-fiction and anthologies. Hollywood took notice and Hecht was soon putting his skills to work for the silver screen. Within a year, he had won an Academy Award for "Underworld" (1927) and a litany of his credits from that point onward was staggering. Some of the finest movies produced from the 1930s through the early 1960s Hecht either wrote the screenplay or was brought in for an uncredited polish. Some of his greatest works included Scarface" (1932), "Nothing Sacred" (1937), "A Star is Born" (1937), "Stagecoach" (1939), "Gone With the Wind" (1939), "Foreign Correspondent" (1940), "Tales of Manhattan" (1942), "The Black Swan" (1942), "Spellbound" (1945), "Notorious" (1946), "Kiss of Death" (1947), "Strangers on a Train" (1951) and "Guys and Dolls" (1955). His ability to turn out high-quality work in a short period of time - sometimes as little as...

One of the premiere writers of the 20th century, Ben Hecht quickly established himself as a hardboiled, eminently readable Chicago newspaper reporter and columnist. He went on to pen several successful Broadway plays, including "The Front Page," one of the most widely staged productions of its era, and a number of acclaimed books, including both fiction, non-fiction and anthologies. Hollywood took notice and Hecht was soon putting his skills to work for the silver screen. Within a year, he had won an Academy Award for "Underworld" (1927) and a litany of his credits from that point onward was staggering. Some of the finest movies produced from the 1930s through the early 1960s Hecht either wrote the screenplay or was brought in for an uncredited polish. Some of his greatest works included Scarface" (1932), "Nothing Sacred" (1937), "A Star is Born" (1937), "Stagecoach" (1939), "Gone With the Wind" (1939), "Foreign Correspondent" (1940), "Tales of Manhattan" (1942), "The Black Swan" (1942), "Spellbound" (1945), "Notorious" (1946), "Kiss of Death" (1947), "Strangers on a Train" (1951) and "Guys and Dolls" (1955). His ability to turn out high-quality work in a short period of time - sometimes as little as two weeks - on such a wide variety of genres kept Hecht in near constant demand, and while he considered movies to be a lesser art form, Hecht's creativity and talent for intelligent plotting and crackling dialogue was indisputable.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Specter of the Rose (1946) Director
3.
  Angels over Broadway (1940) Director
4.
  Soak the Rich (1936) Director
5.
  The Scoundrel (1935) Director
6.
  Once in a Blue Moon (1935) Director
7.
  Crime Without Passion (1934) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Specter of the Rose (1946) Waiter
2.
 Soak the Rich (1936) G-man
3.
 The Scoundrel (1935) Flophouse bum
4.
 Crime Without Passion (1934) Reporter
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Racine, Wisconsin; performed as a child prodigy violinist at age 10; became a circus acrobat at age 12
1909:
Ran away to Chicago at age 16 where he began career as a cub reporter; wrote for the <i>Chicago Journal</i> and the <i>Chicago Daily News</i>
1919:
Became a war correspondent in Germany and Russia for 75 newspapers
:
Worked as crime reporter
1923:
Founded and edited the <i>Chicago Literary Times</i>
1925:
Moved to NYC before heading to Hollywood at the invitation of writer Herman Mankiewicz who offered a contract at Paramount
1934:
Formed production company in NYC with Charles MacArthur; made first film as director, "Crime Without Passion"
1954:
Published autobiography "A Child of the Century"
1964:
Died while working uncredited on screenplay for "Casino Royale" (1967)
1969:
Portion of his memoir, "A Child of the Century" served as basis for Norman Jewison film "Gaily, Gaily" starring Beau Bridges as Hecht
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Education

Racine High School: Racine , Wisconsin -

Notes

Lured to Hollywood by friend Herman Mankiewicz who sent this telegram to Hecht in 1926: "Will you accept 300 per week to work for Paramount Pictures? All expenses paid. 300 is peanuts. Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don't let this get around."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rose Hecht. Married in 1925.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Jenny Hecht. Actor. Born c. 1943.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Florentine Dagger"
"Erik Dorn"
"Gargoyles"
"Humpty Dumpty"
"I Hate Actors"
"A Child of the Century" Donald I. Fine, Inc.
"The Five Lives of Ben Hecht"
"Ben Hecht: The Man Behind the Legend" Scribner
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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