Advertisement

 Robert Benchley

Advertisement

Robert Benchley Famous memorial

Birth
Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Death
21 Nov 1945 (aged 56)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial
Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot
1146
Memorial ID
78 View Source

Humorist. Author. Born Robert Charles Benchley in Worcester, Massachusetts. Very little is known about his childhood as he never related anything but humorous tales about it rather than realities. In 1898, however, his idolized older brother, Edmund, was killed in the Spanish-American War. Benchley attended South High School from 1904 until 1907, when his late brother's fiancée, Lillian Duryea, provided the funds for a transfer to Phillips Exeter Academy. He lent his talents to the Dramatic Club and drew illustrations for the yearbook and literary magazines at school. He then attended Harvard, again with the aid of Lillian Duryea where he was editor of The Lampoon. He graduated in 1912 and moved to New York City where he became managing editor of Vanity Fair Magazine. He was then a reporter for the New York Tribune, and shared an office with Dorothy Parker. From 1920 to 1929 he ran the drama department of Life Magazine and from there moved to The New Yorker where he was the drama columnist from 1929 to 1940. The period that followed the end of World War I was one of gaiety and optimism, and it sparked a new era of creativity in American culture. Surely one of the most profound — and outrageous — influences on the times was Benchley and a group of a dozen or so tastemakers who lunched together at New York City's Algonquin Hotel. For more than a decade, what Benchley and colleagues Dorothy Parker and Robert E. Sherwood started as a private clique became known as the Algonquin Round Table. A public amusement, founding members such as Benchley along with publisher Harold Ross (founder of The New Yorker) were joined by columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Heywood Broun, and his wife Ruth Hale, along with drama critic Alexander Woollcott, comedian Harpo Marx, and playwrights George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly and Edna Ferber drifted about the periphery at the Round Table that embodied an era and changed forever the face of American humor. His collected essays were published in Of All Things, Benchley Beside Himself, Inside Benchley, and Chips Off the Old Benchley. In 1938 he published his last collection of original works. During the 1930s he wrote over thirty comic short films, the titles of which usually began with "How to…". Each starred Benchley as a lecturer or as his alter-ego, Joe Doakes. His How to Sleep won an Academy Award in 1938. He also worked frequently as a character actor in feature films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), I Married a Witch (1942), The Sky's the Limit (1943) and The Reluctant Dragon (1941). In 1943, Benchley announced that he had finished writing and retired. He died two years later of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was the father of author Nathaniel Benchley and grandfather of author Peter Benchley.

Humorist. Author. Born Robert Charles Benchley in Worcester, Massachusetts. Very little is known about his childhood as he never related anything but humorous tales about it rather than realities. In 1898, however, his idolized older brother, Edmund, was killed in the Spanish-American War. Benchley attended South High School from 1904 until 1907, when his late brother's fiancée, Lillian Duryea, provided the funds for a transfer to Phillips Exeter Academy. He lent his talents to the Dramatic Club and drew illustrations for the yearbook and literary magazines at school. He then attended Harvard, again with the aid of Lillian Duryea where he was editor of The Lampoon. He graduated in 1912 and moved to New York City where he became managing editor of Vanity Fair Magazine. He was then a reporter for the New York Tribune, and shared an office with Dorothy Parker. From 1920 to 1929 he ran the drama department of Life Magazine and from there moved to The New Yorker where he was the drama columnist from 1929 to 1940. The period that followed the end of World War I was one of gaiety and optimism, and it sparked a new era of creativity in American culture. Surely one of the most profound — and outrageous — influences on the times was Benchley and a group of a dozen or so tastemakers who lunched together at New York City's Algonquin Hotel. For more than a decade, what Benchley and colleagues Dorothy Parker and Robert E. Sherwood started as a private clique became known as the Algonquin Round Table. A public amusement, founding members such as Benchley along with publisher Harold Ross (founder of The New Yorker) were joined by columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Heywood Broun, and his wife Ruth Hale, along with drama critic Alexander Woollcott, comedian Harpo Marx, and playwrights George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly and Edna Ferber drifted about the periphery at the Round Table that embodied an era and changed forever the face of American humor. His collected essays were published in Of All Things, Benchley Beside Himself, Inside Benchley, and Chips Off the Old Benchley. In 1938 he published his last collection of original works. During the 1930s he wrote over thirty comic short films, the titles of which usually began with "How to…". Each starred Benchley as a lecturer or as his alter-ego, Joe Doakes. His How to Sleep won an Academy Award in 1938. He also worked frequently as a character actor in feature films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), I Married a Witch (1942), The Sky's the Limit (1943) and The Reluctant Dragon (1941). In 1943, Benchley announced that he had finished writing and retired. He died two years later of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was the father of author Nathaniel Benchley and grandfather of author Peter Benchley.

Bio by: Iola


Family Members

Spouse
Siblings
Children

Flowers

In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Robert Benchley?

Current rating:

92 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 Apr 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 78
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/78/robert-benchley: accessed ), memorial page for Robert Benchley (15 Sep 1889–21 Nov 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 78, citing Prospect Hill Cemetery, Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave .