Noël Coward (1899 – 1973) "was simply the best all-rounder of the theatrical, literary and musical worlds of the 20th century. He invented the concept of celebrity and was the essence of chic in the Jazz Age of the 20s and 30s. His debonair looks and stylishly groomed appearance made him the icon of 'the Bright Young Things' that inhabited the world of The Ivy, The Savoy and The Ritz. No one is totally sure when and why it happened but following his success in the 1930s he was called 'The Master', a nickname of honor that indicated the level of his talent and achievement in so many of the entertainment arts." -so say the old salts at NoelCoward.net, and they should know because they have a good deal more time to think about him than we do.
The attached article was no doubt written by one of his many groupies for a swank American theater magazine following the successful New York premiere of his play "Design for Living":
Click here to read about Cole Porter.
Elsa Maxwell kept the party going during the Great Depression...
The attached profile of playwright Lillian Hellman (1905 – 1984) is accompanied by a rare photo of the thirty-four year old American writer, snapped shortly after the opening of her play, "The Little Foxes":
"Four seasons ago when 'The Children's Hour' was produced, that labeling which is the destiny of every important new playwright began. "Second Ibsen"..."American Strindberg"..."1934 Chekhov"...the rumors ran. In this finest example of Miss Hellman's highly individual contribution to the current theater, the Ibsen heritage seems most likely to win out."
In 1945 Hellman wrote about much of what she had seen on the W.W. II Soviet front; click here to read it
A YANK MAGAZINE interview with the recently demobilized Jackie Robinson (1919 – 1972), who at the time was about to embark on one of the most glorious baseball careers a man could ever wish for. Largely remembered as the one who "broke the baseball color barrier", he proved to not only be a superb athlete and a good sportsman, but a valued member of the Civil Rights Movement who, among other contributions, is remembered for clearing the path so that other African-American athletes could advance to the major leagues. He was awarded many prizes before retiring from baseball in 1957. This interview centers on Robinson's non-professional days in sports; his football injury at Pasadena Junior College, basketball at UCLA, his days with the Kansas City Monarchs and a brief period as an officer in the 761st Tank Battalion.
A 1951 article about the Negro Baseball League can be read here
In 1969, Jackie Robinson wrote about African-American racists, click here to read it...
Click here to read a 1954 article about Willie Mays.
NEW YORKER theater critic, columnist, actor and Algonquin wit Robert Benchley (1889 – 1945) was interviewed for STAGE MAGAZINE and photographed by theater shutter-bug Ben Pinchot:
"Sometimes he writes digests of the news which The NEW YORKER calls "The Wayward Press" and signs them Guy Fawkes for some quaint reason..."
Attached is a 1933 interview of Walter Lippmann (1889 - 1974) that covers many of the successes and influences of his career up to that time. Lippmann was, without a doubt, one of the most respected Pulitzer Prize winning American columnists of the Twentieth Century and a sharp critic of FDR's New Deal.
Working as one of the earliest associate editors at The New Republic, he was there at the magazine's birth (1914), and returned to those offices following his service as a captain in army intelligence and aid to the U.S. Secretary of War when the First World War ended. It was at this point that his career as columnist took flight when he assumed the position as lead commentator at The New York World. The article was written by historian James Truslow Adams (1879 - 1940) who wrote of him:
"This phenomenon of Walter Lippmann is, it seems to me, a fact of possibly deep significance, and the remainder of his career will teach us not a little as to what sort of world we are living into...his intellectualism is tempered for the ordinary reader by his effort to be fair and by his fearlessness."
&lIn 1944, Karl Jay Shapiro (1913 – 2000) was pulling in the big-bucks as a U.S. Army Private stationed in New Guinea, but unlike most of the khaki-clad Joes in at least a one hundred mile radius, Shapiro had two volumes of poetry under his belt (Person Place and Thing and "Place of Love") in addition to the memory of having been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In this short interview, he explains what a poet's concerns should be and offers some fine tips for younger poets to bare in mind. A year latter, while he was still in uniform, Shapiro would be awarded the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.