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 Don Marquis

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Don Marquis

  • Birth 29 Jul 1878 Walnut, Bureau County, Illinois, USA
  • Death 29 Dec 1937 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Kew Gardens, Queens County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 10277578

Humorist. He created the famous characters "archy and mehitable," a cockroach and an alley cat, to provide wry commentary for his newspaper columns. Marquis claimed their stories were written at night in his deserted office by archy, who used only lower-case letters because he could not operate the shift key on the typewriter. The bug often mused on the sordid exploits of the cat mehitabel, whose motto was "toujours gai" ("always happy"), and came up with witticisms like, "The high cost of living isn't so bad if you don't have to pay for it," and, "If a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him: Whose?" Marquis collected their adventures in the books "Archy and Mehitabel" (1927), "Archy's Life of Mehitabel" (1933), "Archy Does His Part" (1935), and "The Lives and Times of Archy and Mehitabel" (1940). Donald Robert Perry Marquis was born in Walnut, Illinois. His early career as an itinerant newsman included a stint as assistant editor to humorist Joel Chandler Harris, who encouraged his predilection for fantasy. In 1909 Marquis settled in New York City, where he wrote the daily humor column "The Sun Dial" for the Evening Sun (1912 to 1922), and "The Lantern" for the Herald Tribune (1922 to 1925). He was then a weekly columnist for "Collier's" magazine until 1936, when he was disabled by a series of strokes. Marquis also wrote the hit play "The Old Soak" (1922) based on another of his satirical creations, Clem Hawley, a philosophizing drunk trying to get by during the dry years of Prohibition; and he contributed to the screenplay for the film "Skippy" (1931). His complete writings comprise over 40 volumes. The wits of the Algonquin Round Table (among them Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and James Thurber) looked up to Marquis as a father figure, and E. B. White called him "a very funny man, his product rich and satisfying, full of sad beauty, bawdy adventure, political wisdom, and wild surmise; full of pain and jollity, full of exact and inspired writing."

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 5 Jan 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10277578
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Don Marquis (29 Jul 1878–29 Dec 1937), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10277578, citing Maple Grove Cemetery, Kew Gardens, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .