Charles MacArthur

Charles MacArthur
Charles MacArthur
Born Charles Gordon MacArthur
November 5, 1895(1895-11-05)
Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Died April 21, 1956(1956-04-21) (aged 60)
New York City, New York, United States
Spouse Helen Hayes (1928-1956)

Charles Gordon MacArthur (November 5, 1895 – April 21, 1956) was an American playwright and screenwriter.



Charles MacArthur was the second youngest of seven children born to stern evangelist William Telfer MacArthur and Georgiana Welsted MacArthur.[1] He early developed a passion for reading. Refusing to follow his father into ministry, he moved to Midwest and soon became a successful reporter in Chicago, working for Chicago Tribune and Daily News. He also wrote several short stories at that time, two of which, "Hang It All" (1921) and "Rope" (1923), were published in H.L. Mencken’s The Smart Set magazine.[1] Eventually he settled in New York City, where he turned to playwriting.

MacArthur is best known for his plays in collaboration with Ben Hecht, Ladies and Gentlemen (filmed as Perfect Strangers), Twentieth Century and the frequently filmed The Front Page, which was based in part on MacArthur's experiences at the City News Bureau of Chicago. MacArthur also co-wrote, with Edward Sheldon, a play called Lulu Belle, which was successfully staged in 1926 by David Belasco.

MacArthur was friends with members of the Algonquin Round Table. He shared an apartment with Robert Benchley and briefly dated Dorothy Parker.

His second marriage was to the stage and screen actress, Helen Hayes, from 1928 until his death. They lived in Nyack, New York. They were preceded in death by their daughter, Mary, who died unexpectedly of polio in 1949 at the age of 19. The shock of her death hastened MacArthur's own, according to those who knew him.

Their adopted son, James MacArthur, was also an actor, best known for playing "Danny Williams" on the American television series Hawaii Five-O.

His brother, John D. MacArthur, was an insurance-company owner and executive, and founded the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the benefactor of the "genius awards".

Awards and Nominations

Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story - The Scoundrel (shared with Ben Hecht) (1936)

Film portrayal

MacArthur was portrayed by the actor Matthew Broderick in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.[2]

Selected works




External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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