Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy birthday, Robert Sherwood

It is the birthday of playwright Robert Sherwood (1896), who won four Pulitzer Prizes, three for his plays and one for a biography. Sherwood served as film critic for Vanity Fair magazine in the 1920s. He was among the founders of the Algonquin Round Table, the storied gathering of New York writers and wits, along with fellow magazine staffers Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker. Sherwood's play Idiot's Delight (1936) won his first Pulitzer. It is the story of a dance troupe stranded in an Alpine hotel as war breaks out. Sherwood also won for Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938) and There Shall Be No Night (1940), which is set in Finland just before the Russian invasion. Sherwood also served as speech writer for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is credited with inspiring the phrase "arsenal of democracy" that Roosevelt used in speeches to generate support for the Allied war effort. Sherwood's book Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate Portrait (1948) won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

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