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 DuBose Heyward

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DuBose Heyward

  • Birth 31 Aug 1885 Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 16 Jun 1940 Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina, USA
  • Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 478

Author. A noted Southern writer of the early 20th. century, he is remembered for his 1925 novel "Porgy" and for the subsequent libretto of George Gershwin's 1935 opera "Porgy and Bess". Born Edwin DuBose Heyward to a distinguished family he attended the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina, then was a Charleston insurance and real estate salesman who turned to literature after banking sufficient money to support himself. Heyward had a long interest in the South Carolina black culture, even performing in a Gullah singing group, and used his observations as a basis for "Porgy". Drawing Catfish Row from local geography and the crippled beggar Porgy from "Goat Cart Sam" Smalls, he created a work that was praised by some for showing blacks in a sympathetic and non-patronizing light but was criticized by others for the negative stereotypes of gambling, violence, and drug use. Whatever the story's true merit it became a best seller of 1926 and the inspiration for a successful 1927 Broadway play which does differ from the book in a few respects. George Gershwin liked the piece and spent the summer of 1934 at a small house on Folly Island working with Heyward on the opera; though Gershwin's brother Ira made some small contributions virtually the entire libretto is Heyward's work. He produced a few other novels, plays, and poetry collections including "Mamba's Daughter" (1929), 1931's "Brass Ankle", and the 1939 "Star Spangled Virgin", though most of what he wrote, save "Porgy" and his only children's book "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes", a charming tale of a lady rabbit who becomes the Easter Bunny which has been in print continually since its 1939 publication, is essentially forgotten. Heyward died of a sudden heart attack.

Bio by: Bob Hufford

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 478
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for DuBose Heyward (31 Aug 1885–16 Jun 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 478, citing Saint Philips Episcopal Church Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .