George Jean Nathan
|George Jean Nathan|
February 14, 1882|
Fort Wayne, Indiana
|Died||April 8, 1958
New York, NY
|Occupation||drama critic and magazine editor|
George Jean Nathan (February 14, 1882 – April 8, 1958) was an American drama critic and editor. He worked closely with H.L. Mencken, bringing the literary magazine The Smart Set to prominence as an editor, and co-founding and editing The American Mercury.
Relationships and marriage
Though he published a paean to The Bachelor Life in 1941, Nathan had a reputation as a "ladies man" -- and one not averse to dating within his field; indeed the character of Addison De Witt, the waspish theater critic who squires a starlet (played by a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe) in the film All About Eve, was based on Nathan. His most famous relationship was reportedly with actress Lillian Gish. Their relationship began in the late 1920s and lasted almost a decade, with Gish repeatedly refusing his marriage proposals.
Nathan eventually married considerably younger stage actress Julie Haydon in 1955.
Nathan died in New York City in 1958, aged 76.
The George Jean Nathan Award, an honor in dramatic criticism, is named after him.
- "One does not go to the theater to see life and nature; one goes to see the particular way in which life and nature happen to look to a cultivated, imaginative and entertaining man who happens, in turn, to be a playwright."
- "Patriotism is an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles."
- "Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with its own loveliness." (From his book House of Satan)
- "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."
- "My code of life and conduct is simply this: work hard, play to the allowable limit, disregard equally the good and bad opinion of others, never do a friend a dirty trick, eat and drink what you feel like when you feel like, never grow indignant over anything, trust to tobacco for calm and serenity, bathe twice a day . . . learn to play at least one musical instrument and then play it only in private, never allow one's self even a passing thought of death, never contradict anyone or seek to prove anything to anyone unless one gets paid for it in cold, hard coin, live the moment to the utmost of its possibilities, treat one's enemies with polite inconsideration, avoid persons who are chronically in need, and be satisfied with life always but never with one's self."
- "No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."
- "I drink to make other people interesting."
- "Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible a plea as baseball in Italian."
- George Jean Nathan Award at Cornell
- Works by George Jean Nathan at Project Gutenberg
- George Jean Nathan at Find a Grave