Viña Delmar in Sadie McKee trailer
|Born||January 29, 1903
New York City
|Died||January 19, 1990 (age 86)
|Occupation||Writer, playwright, screenwriter|
|Genre||Fiction, Historical Fiction|
Viña Delmar (January 29, 1903 – January 19, 1990) was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who was actively productive from the 1920s to the 1970s. She rose to fame in the late 1920s with the publication of her risqué novel, Bad Girl, which became a top bestseller in 1928. Delmar also wrote the screenplay to the acclaimed screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, for which she received an Academy Award nomination in 1937.
Viña Delmar was born Alvina Louise Croter on January 29, 1903 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of vaudeville performers Isaac "Ike" Croter and Jennie A. (née Guerin) Croter. Her parents were regulars on the vaudeville circuit as well as performers in the Yiddish theater in New York City and elsewhere in the United States. Ike Croter went by the stage name of "Charlie Hoey" (or "Chas Hoey"), and formed one-half of the musical duo "Hoey and Lee," alongside partner Harry Lee. Jennie Croter was a singer who performed under the name "Jean Powell" (or "Jeanne Powell").
Delmar's grandfather, Simon Croter, was a tailor and merchant in New York City's Lower East Side. Together with his brother Abraham (Arthur) Croter, he owned a store at 10 Baxter Street in what is now Chinatown in New York City. Simon Croter, who spoke German and was Jewish, emigrated from Poland. Delmar's father, grandparents, as well as an uncle (Charles Croter) and an aunt (Rose Croter Silberger), are buried in Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
According to one obituary, Delmar was a "young woman [who] wrote a series of novels that scandalized the country, making them not only best-sellers but giving her entree to Hollywood".
Her first major work was a 1928 novel titled Bad Girl, a cautionary tale about premarital sex and pregnancy, which was adapted for both stage and screen. The book was the fifth best-selling work for that year. Bad Girl was considered so scandalous at first that it was initially banned in Boston.
With the editorial assistance of her husband, Eugene, she wrote or adapted about twenty plays which were produced as films during her lifetime—a career that lasted from 1929 to 1956.
- Bad Girl (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1928)
- Kept Woman (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1929)
- Loose Ladies (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1929) Note: Collection of short stories.
- Women Live Too Long (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1932)
- The Marriage Racket (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1933)
- The End of the World (International Magazine Co., 1934) Note: Reprint of the complete novel that was originally published in Cosmopolitan Magazine; 54 pages.
- The Love Trap (New York: Avon #189, 1946)
- The Restless Passion (New York: Avon Book Co., 1947); retitled reissue of Women Live Too Long (1932).
- New Orleans Lady (New York: Avon #209, 1949)
- About Mrs. Leslie (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1950)
- The Laughing Stranger (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1950)
- Strangers in Love (New York: Dell Pub. Co., 1951)
- Marcaboth Women (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1951)
- Beloved (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1956)
- The Breeze From Camelot (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1959)
- The Big Family (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1961)
- The Enchanted (Harcourt Brace & Co., 1965)
- Grandmère (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1967)
- The Becker Scandal: A Time Remembered (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1968)
Note: The Becker Scandal deals with the events surrounding the arrest, trial and execution of New York City policeman Charles Becker. The book is considered by some scholars and readers autobiographical, and by others historical fiction. The actual disposition of the book, whether fact, quasi-fact, or embellished fiction, may be impossible to determine.
- The Freeways (New York: Harcourt Brace & World, 1971)
- Anatomy of Spanish (privately printed, 1973)
- A Time for Titans (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974)
- McKeever (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976)
- The Rich Full Life: A Play in Three Acts (New York: Samuel French, 1946)
- Mid-Summer: A Comedy in Three Acts (New York: Samuel French, 1954)
- Warm Wednesday: A Comedy in Three Acts (New York: Samuel French, 1959)
Alvina (Viña) Croter married Eugene Delmar either in 1921 or 1922. They resided in Scarsdale, New York from 1928 until 1940, then moved to Los Angeles. They remained married until his death in 1956. The couple had one son, Gray, who was born in 1924 and killed in an automobile racing accident in 1966. Viña Delmar died January 19, 1990 in Los Angeles, California. She was 86.
- 1929 Dance Hall (story)
- 1930 Playing Around (story "Sheba" as Vina Delmar)
- 1930 A Soldier's Plaything (story)
- 1931 Bad Girl (novel and play)
- 1932 Marido y mujer (The Spanish language version of Bad Girl.)
- 1932 Uptown New York (based on a story)
- 1933 The Woman Accused (Liberty Magazine serial chapter)
- 1933 Pick-up (story)
- 1933 Chance at Heaven (story "A Chance at Heaven" as Vina Delmar)
- 1934 Sadie McKee (story "Pretty Sadie McKee" as Vina Delmar)
- 1935 Hands Across the Table (story "Bracelets")
- 1935 Bad Boy (story as Vina Delmar)
- 1936 King of Burlesque (story as Vina Delmar)
- 1937 Make Way for Tomorrow (screenplay)
- 1937 The Awful Truth
- 1940 Manhattan Heartbeat (play as Vina Delmar)
- 1942 The Great Man's Lady (short story)
- 1947 Cynthia (play)
- 1954 About Mrs. Leslie (novel)
- 1955 Make Way for Tomorrow (story and original screenplay for Lux Video Theatre TV series)
- 1956 Hands Across the Table (story for Lux Video Theatre TV series)
- Loose Ladies
- Time Magazine
- Urch, Kakie. "The [Em] Space of Modernism and the Possibility of Flâneuserie: The Case of Viña Delmar and Her "Bad Girls." Modernism, Gender, and Culture: A Cultural Studies Approach. Edited with an Introduction by Lisa Rado. (New York and Oxfordshire, England: Routledge, 1997), pp. 17–46.
- January 2, 1940 "Closing Statement" of sale of home in Scarsdale, NY to Albert & Clare Verrilli.
- "Viña Delmar". Retrieved 13 November 2011.