Charles Gordon MacArthur
November 5, 1895
Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 21, 1956 (aged 60)|
Helen Hayes (m. 1928)
|Children||2, including James MacArthur|
|Relatives||John D. MacArthur (brother)|
J. Roderick MacArthur (nephew)
Charles MacArthur was the sixth of seven children born to stern evangelist William Telfer MacArthur and Georgiana Welsted MacArthur. He early developed a passion for reading. Declining to follow his father into ministry, he moved to the Midwest and soon became a successful reporter in Chicago, working for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Daily News. MacArthur joined the United States Army for World War I, and served in France as a private assigned to Battery F, 149th Field Artillery, a unit of the 42nd Division. He recounted his wartime experience in 1919's A Bug's-Eye View of the War. After the war, he wrote several short stories, two of which, "Hang It All" (1921) and "Rope" (1923), were published in H.L. Mencken's The Smart Set magazine. Eventually he settled in New York City, where he turned to playwriting.
MacArthur is best known for his plays in collaboration with Ben Hecht, Ladies and Gentlemen (filmed as Perfect Strangers), Twentieth Century and the frequently filmed The Front Page, which was based in part on MacArthur's experiences at the City News Bureau of Chicago. MacArthur also co-wrote, with Edward Sheldon, the play Lulu Belle, which was staged in 1926 by David Belasco.
His second marriage was to the stage and screen actress Helen Hayes, from 1928 until his death. They lived in Nyack, New York. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Mary, who died of polio in 1949 at the age of 19. The shock of her death hastened MacArthur's own, according to those who knew him.
Awards and nominations
- Swan Song (1946), (with Ben Hecht)
- Ladies and Gentlemen (1939), (with Ben Hecht), made into Perfect Strangers, film of 1950
- Spring Tonic, made into 1935 movie of the same name
- Johnny on A Spot
- Jumbo, (with Ben Hecht), made into a Jumbo musical of 1935 and Billy Rose's Jumbo film of 1962
- Twentieth Century (with Ben Hecht), made into the 1934 film Twentieth Century
- The Front Page (1928), with Ben Hecht, made into the 1931, 1945, and 1974 motion pictures of the same name, the 1940 film His Girl Friday, and the 1988 movie Switching Channels
- Lulu Belle (1926), (with Edward Sheldon)
- Wuthering Heights (1939)
- Gunga Din (1939)
- Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) (uncredited)
- King of Gamblers (1937), aka Czar of the Slot Machines (uncredited)
- Soak the Rich (1936)
- The Scoundrel (1935)
- Barbary Coast (1935)
- Once in a Blue Moon (1935)
- Crime Without Passion (1934) (also directed by him and Ben Hecht)
- Topaze (1933)
- Freaks (1932) (uncredited)
- Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
- The Unholy Garden (1931)
- Quick Millions (1931) (uncredited)
- Hell Divers (1931)
- New Adventures of Get Rich Quick Wallingford (1931)
- The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931)
- Paid (1930)
- Way for a Sailor (1930)
- King of Jazz (1930) (uncredited)
- Billy the Kid (1930)
- The Girl Said No (1930)
- "A Salute to Charles Gordon MacArthur". James Macarthur Official Website. 2004.
- "Reporter Writes View of the War". The Fourth Estate. New York, NY. December 20, 1919. p. 25.
- MacArthur, Charles G. (1919). A Bug's-Eye View of the War. New York, NY: 149th Field Artillery Regiment. p. title.
- "Theater Hall of Fame Gets 10 New Members". The New York Times. May 10, 1983.
- Internet Movie Database entry for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
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