Author. He is remembered as an American dramatist, poet, and playwright. Born the son of East European Jewish immigrants, his father's original surname was Gorodetsky. He never finished high school. Among his many landmark stories were "Paradise Lost," "Rocket to the Moon," and "The Big Knife." Before writing, he studied acting for years with little success, became a theater critic, and radio dis jockey. His debut production was the one-act play, "Waiting for Lefty," on January 6, 1935 in an off-Broadway theater. During the mid-1940s, he mainly wrote for Hollywood studios, returning to Broadway in 1948. Four of his plays were adapted to Hollywood films but he did not write the screenplays. He became a member of the American Communist Party in 1934 for only nine months. Although he was not blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, he was snubbed by the public after appearing before the committee. He wrote 13 scripts for the 1950s television series "Have Gun Will Travel." He had chronic stomach problems and was diagnosed with stomach cancer a month before his death. He married actress Luise Rainer, who received two Academy Awards for Best Actress. After their divorce, he remarried and had two children, and by 1951, he was divorced again. In 1936 he was on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize in Literature, but another American author, Eugene O'Neill, received the coveted award.
Bio by: Linda Davis
Genevieve Odets Levy