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Irving S. Brecher
|Died||November 17, 2008 (age 94)|
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, California|
|Occupation||Screenwriter, producer, director|
(m. ?–1981; her death)
(m. 1983–2008; his death)
Irving S. Brecher (January 17, 1914 – November 17, 2008) was a screenwriter who wrote for the Marx Brothers among many others; he was the only writer to get sole credit on a Marx Brothers film, penning the screenplays for At the Circus (1939) and Go West (1940). He was also one of the numerous uncredited writers on the screenplay of The Wizard of Oz (1939). Some of his other screenplays were Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), Ziegfeld Follies (1946) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
Born in the Bronx, New York, Brecher's first professional involvement with movies came when he became an usher at a Manhattan, New York movie theater at age 19. Even as a teenager he was writing jokes, sending them to newspaper columnists Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan on postcards.
He created, produced, and was head writer for the original radio and early TV edition of The Life of Riley. He also wrote for Al Jolson on radio and later created and co-produced The People's Choice as well.
Brecher's career in screenwriting began in 1937.
As an aspiring young comedy writer, Brecher famously placed an ad in Variety looking for work, promising he could write "jokes so bad, even Milton Berle wouldn't steal them." He was promptly hired by Berle himself.
Brecher, who bore a physical resemblance to Groucho Marx, once filled in for him in Marx Brothers publicity photos for the film Go West, despite an almost 25-year age difference.
His memoirs, The Wicked Wit of the West: The last great Golden-Age screenwriter shares the hilarity and heartaches of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Burns, Berle, Benny & many more, was published posthumously in January 2009 by Ben Yehuda Press.
Brecher died November 17, 2008. He was survived by his wife and three stepchildren.
- Irving S. Brecher at Find a Grave
- Bergan, Ronald (March 11, 2009). "Irving Brecher". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Irving Brecher". The Telegraph. November 20, 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Schaden, Chuck (Spring 2009). "Necrology for 2008". Nostalgia Digest. 35 (2): 55–59.
- Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2. P.159.
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- O'Brian, Jack (November 24, 1948). "Broadway". Fitchburg Sentinel. p. 6. Retrieved July 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ben Yehuda Press page for The Wicked Wit of the West: The last great Golden-Age screenwriter shares the hilarity and heartaches of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Burns, Berle, Benny & many more by Irving Brecher as told to Hank Rosenfeld".