Charles Tazewell

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Charles Tazewell
Born(1900-06-02)June 2, 1900
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
DiedJune 26, 1972(1972-06-26) (aged 72)
Chesterfield, NH
OccupationRadio playwright, writer
GenreChildren's literature
Notable worksThe Littlest Angel (1945)
The Small One (1947)
SpouseLouise Skinner Tazwell

Charles Tazewell (June 2, 1900 – June 26, 1972) was an actor, radio playwright, and children's book author, whose work has been adapted multiple times for film.


Charles Tazewell was born in 1900 in Des Moines, Iowa,[1] and began acting while still in high school.


In 1923, he had a small part in the Theatre Guild's Peer Gynt at the Garrick Theatre.[2] In 1924, he appeared in the Guild's production of Ernst Toller's Man and the Masses.[3] Later that year, he was in Sidney Howard's They Knew What They Wanted. The play premiered on November 24, 1924, and closed in October 1925, after 192 performances.[4] He followed this the following year with Howard's Lucky Sam McCarver.[5] At this time, he was living at 143 West 72nd St.[6] In 1931, he wrote the book for the short-lived musical Sugar Hill.[7][8]


During the 30s, Tazewell wrote scripts for radio programs, including Downbeat on Murder for the Columbia Workshop. It was broadcast on CBS on June 6, 1937. An experimental series, in Tazewell's play, voices changed into musical notes.[9] He also worked in television, scripting special material for Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Tazewell is perhaps best known for the classic Christmas story, The Littlest Angel. In 1939 he wrote an unproduced radio script, which was published in book form in 1945 and became one of the best-selling children's books of all time. It was republished multiple times and at the time of his death in 1972, The Littlest Angel was in its 38th printing.[10] It was adapted several times for film and radio,[11] most notably as a musical TV drama for the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1969. The heartwarming tale, written in just three days, is about a small boy's adjustment to being an angel in heaven and his gift to the holy infant. The beloved and enduring Christmas story has been reprinted countless times and translated into many languages.[12]

He wrote other children's books including The Small One, which The Walt Disney Company adapted into the animated short of the same name in 1978, six years after his death. His book The Littlest Snowman was also adapted into a film as a segment of Christmas Fairy Tale (12 minutes). Previously, a shorter adaptation narrated by Bob Keeshan had been annually shown on the CBS children's daytime television show Captain Kangaroo. The Littlest Snowman won the Thomas A. Edison Prize for the best children's story of 1956.[5]


He was married to Louise Skinner Tazwell.[5] They lived in Los Angeles before later moving to Chesterfield, New Hampshire. Tazewell was a founder of the Brattleboro Little Theater in nearby Brattleboro, Vermont. His grave can be found at Lindenwood Cemetery, Stoneham, Massachusetts.


  • The Littlest Angel (1945)
  • The Small One (1947)
  • The Littlest Tree
  • The Littlest Uninvited One
  • The Littlest Red Horse
  • The Littlest Snowman {1956}


  1. ^ "Chesterfield Historical Society - Charles Tazwell". Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  2. ^ Lawren, Joseph. The Drama Year Book, 1924
  3. ^ Toller, Ernst. Man and the Masses (Masse Mensch): A Play of the Social Revolution in Seven Scenes, Doubleday, 1924, p, xxvii
  4. ^ "'They Knew What They Wanted' Broadway 1924", accessed December 21, 2015
  5. ^ a b c "Charles TazeweU, Who Wrote ' The Littlest Angel,' Dies at 72". Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  6. ^ Actors Directory and Stage Manual, Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 140]
  7. ^ "Charles Tazewell", Playbill, December 25, 1931
  8. ^ "Sugar Hill", IBDB
  9. ^ Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 169ISBN 9780199770786
  10. ^ "Tazewell's endearing 'Angel' story beloved by millions". Des Moines Register. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  11. ^ Internet Movie Database search, The Littlest Angel
  12. ^ Des Moines Register, Famous Iowans

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