Arthur Sheekman

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Arthur Sheekman
Born (1901-02-05)February 5, 1901
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Died January 12, 1978(1978-01-12) (aged 76)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Cause of death
Alzheimer's disease
Spouse(s) Gloria Stuart
(m.1934-1978; his death)

Arthur Sheekman (February 5, 1901 - January 12, 1978), a graduate from the University of Minnesota, started his career as columnist and drama critic during the 1920s and the early 1930s for the Manhattan Newspaper. He then entered the film industry in 1931 when he became a scenarist for the Marx Brothers' movie Monkey Business where he befriended Groucho Marx. Groucho first found out about Arthur Sheekman while reading Sheekman's show business column on the Chicago Sunday Times and wrote a guest column replying to Sheekman saying that he liked his style and wanted him to help work on his productions in Hollywood. From then on it was known throughout the film production business during that time that Groucho detested the other writers and favored Sheekman over them. This was seen in the movie Monkey Business where Groucho rejected S. J. Perelman's script which he complained was too literary (Perelman said that Groucho's sole response to his script was, "It stinks!"). Groucho also rejected Ned Tennant's script and instead chose to use Sheekman's script in the end (even though ironically much of Sheekman's script was based upon Perelman's original ideas).

Film Career[edit]

Arthur Sheekman continued to work with the Marx Brothers on such projects as Horse Feathers (in which he has a cameo appearance as a sports writer in the press box), Duck Soup in 1933 and the Groucho-Chico radio series known as Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel (where he worked as script writer) as well as being the host for many of Groucho's books such as Beds and Many Happy Returns.

Later on, while working for the Eddie Cantor musical Roman Scandals in 1933, Sheekman met his future bride actress Gloria Stuart (he would be Gloria's second husband after Blair Gordon Newell who divorced her in 1934). Gloria Stuart had retired from films in the early 1940s, but made a comeback appearing in such movies as My Favorite Year -- where she danced with Peter O'Toole -- and Titanic, where she received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of 100-year-old Rose.

Later works he help to script write included Danny Kaye's Wonder Man (1945), Bing Crosby's Welcome Stranger (1947) and Mr. Music (1950), Joe E. Brown's The Gladiator (1938) as well as Daniel Mann's Ada (1961).

Death[edit]

After 43 years of happy marriage with actress Gloria Stuart, Arthur Sheekman succumbed to the effects of Alzheimers Disease, and died on January 12, 1978, just weeks before his 77th birthday. According to widow Gloria Stuart's autobiography, I Just Kept Hoping, Sheekman was cremated and his ashes were buried beneath a tree at their home in Brentwood, California.

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