Ben Hecht

Hecht in 1945 Ben Hecht (; February 28, 1894 – April 18, 1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write 35 books and some of the most enjoyed screenplays and plays in America. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films.

After graduating from high school in 1910, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where, in his own words, he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops." In the 1910s and 1920s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure. In the late 1920s, his co-authored, reporter-themed play, ''The Front Page'', became a Broadway hit. The ''Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters'' calls him "one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures". Hecht received the first Academy Award for Best Story for ''Underworld'' (1927). Many of the screenplays he worked on are now considered classics. He also provided story ideas for such films as ''Stagecoach'' (1939). Film historian Richard Corliss called him "''the'' Hollywood screenwriter", someone who "personified Hollywood itself". In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed ''Angels Over Broadway'', which was nominated for Best Screenplay. In total, six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards, with two winning.

Hecht became an active Zionist (supporter of a Jewish "national home" in The Levant) after meeting Peter Bergson, who came to the United States near the start of World War II. Motivated by what became the Holocaust—the mass-murder of Jews in Europe—Hecht wrote articles and plays, such as ''We Will Never Die'' in 1943 and ''A Flag is Born'' in 1946. Thereafter, he wrote many screenplays anonymously to avoid a British boycott of his work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The boycott was a response to Hecht's active support of paramilitary action against British Mandate for Palestine forces, during which time a Zionist force's supply ship to Palestine was named the S.S. ''Ben Hecht'' (nl)(he).

In 1954, Hecht published his highly regarded autobiography, ''A Child of the Century''. According to it, he did not hold screenwriting (in contrast to journalism) in high esteem, and never spent more than eight weeks on a script. In 1983, 19 years after his death, Ben Hecht was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Provided by Wikipedia

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