William Marchant (playwright)

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William Marchant
Born May 1, 1923
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Died November 5, 1995
Paramus, New Jersey
Occupation Playwright and screenwriter
Nationality American

William Marchant (May 1, 1923 in Allentown, Pennsylvania – November 5, 1995 in Paramus, New Jersey) was a playwright and screenwriter. He is best known for writing the play that served as the basis for the 1957 Walter Lang movie, The Desk Set.

Marchant had been a resident of the Actor's Fund home in Englewood, New Jersey at the time of his death. He had earlier lived in the Stanton section of Readington Township, New Jersey, in a home owned by Broadway actress Dorothy Stickney.[1]


Marchant was educated at Temple University in Philadelphia and the Yale School of Drama in New Haven, Connecticut.[citation needed]



Marchant's play, To Be Continued (which included a 23-year-old Grace Kelly in the cast), opened on April 23, 1952 at the Booth Theatre on Broadway and ran for 13 performances.[citation needed]

Marchant's most notable work, The Desk Set, opened on Broadway on October 24, 1955 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 296 performances, with Shirley Booth in the lead role.[citation needed] The play served as the source material for an eponymous 1957 movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

In 1975, Marchant wrote The Privilege of his Company, a remembrance of Noël Coward, which was published by The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

He translated the French play Les Dames Du Jeudi for Lynn Redgrave and John Clark, who premiered it as Thursday's Girls in Los Angeles in 1982.[citation needed]


As a screenwriter, Marchant wrote several episodes for the Armchair Theatre and Armchair Mystery Theatre, dramatized Louise, a W. Somerset Maugham story, for a 1969 BBC Two television production,[citation needed] and worked on two films: Triple Cross (1966) and My Lover, My Son[citation needed].


  1. ^ Gussow, Mel. "William Marchant, 72, 'Desk Set' Playwright", The New York Times, December 20, 1995. Accessed December 1, 2007. "Mr. Marchant had been a resident of the Actors Fund of America Nursing and Retirement Home in Englewood, N.J., before moving to the hospital last year. Before that, he lived in Stanton, N.J., in a house owned by the actress Dorothy Stickney, said Kenneth Stadnik, a neighbor."

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