Donald Ogden Stewart

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Donald Ogden Stewart
Donald Ogden Stewart.jpg
Born (1894-11-30)November 30, 1894
Columbus, Ohio
Died August 2, 1980(1980-08-02) (aged 85)
London, England
Known for Best Adapted Screenplay
1940 The Philadelphia Story
Spouse(s) Beatrice Ames (1924-1938)
Ella Winter (1939-1980)

Donald Ogden Stewart (November 30, 1894 - August 2, 1980) was an American author and screenwriter.[1]

Life[edit]

His hometown was Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Yale University, where he became a brother to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter), in 1916 and was in the Naval Reserves in World War I.

After the war he started to write and found success with A Parody Outline of History, a satire of The Outline of History (1920) by H. G. Wells. This led him to becoming a member of the Algonquin Round Table. Around that time a friend of his got him interested in theater and he became a noted playwright on Broadway in the 1920s. He was friends with Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, and Ernest Hemingway (he was the model for Bill Gorton in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises). In 1924, he wrote Mr. and Mrs. Haddock Abroad for the publishing house George H. Doran. It was a snarky send up of the ugly American tourist.

He became interested in adapting some of his plays to film, but on first entering Hollywood he had to adapt the plays of others as his own were initially shelved. Once there he mostly wrote, but he also had a small part in the film Not So Dumb. By the 1930s he had become known primarily as a screenwriter and won an Academy Award for The Philadelphia Story (1940). As World War II approached, he became a member of the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League, and admitted to being a member of the CPUSA at one of its public meetings. During the Second Red Scare Stewart was blacklisted in 1950 and the following year he and his wife, activist and writer Ella Winter (they had married in 1939), emigrated to England. In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.[2] His 1975 memoir is entitled By a Stroke of Luck.

He died in London in 1980. His widow died the same year. Stewart had two sons from a previous marriage.[1][3]

Film portrayal[edit]

Stewart was portrayed by the actor and playwright David Gow in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.[4]

Partial filmography[edit]

As a writer[edit]

As an actor[edit]

  • Not So Dumb (1930) .... Skylar Van Dyke/Horace Patterson
  • Night Club (1929/I)
  • Humorous Flights (1929) .... Donald Ogden Stewart
  • Holiday (1928) .... Nick Potter

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Donald O. Stewart, Screenwriter, Dies. Writer of Screenplay for the Movie 'Philadelphia Story' Was Also Well Known for Parodies 'I Want to Have Bite' Shared Oscar With Trumbo Alumnus of Exeter and Yale". New York Times. August 3, 1980. Retrieved 2008-04-18. Donald Ogden Stewart, a parodist, playwright and politically committed screenwriter who enjoyed a large reputation from 1920 to 1950, died yesterday afternoon at his home in London after an illness that followed a heart attack. He was 85 years old. 
  2. ^ “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” January 30, 1968 New York Post
  3. ^ Cook, Joan (August 5, 1980). "Ella Winter Stewart, Journalist and Widow Of Donald O. Stewart; Was War Correspondent Back After 17 Years.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-18. Ella Winter Stewart, a journalist and the widow of Donald Ogden Stewart, who died Saturday, died of a stroke early today at her home in Hamstead, London. She was 82 years old. 
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database entry for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
  5. ^ "Corrected Blacklist Credits". Writer's Guild of America / West. Writers Guild of America, West. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 

External links[edit]