Charles Gordon MacArthur (November 5, 1895 – April 21, 1956) was an American playwright and screenwriter.
Charles MacArthur was the second youngest of seven children born to stern evangelist William Telfer MacArthur and Georgiana Welsted MacArthur. He early developed a passion for reading. Refusing to follow his father into ministry, he moved to Midwest and soon became a successful reporter in Chicago, working for Chicago Tribune and Daily News. He also wrote several short stories at that time, two of which, “Hang It All” (1921) and “Rope” (1923), were published in H.L. Mencken’s The Smart Set magazine. Eventually he settled in New York City, where he turned to playwriting.
MacArthur is best known for his plays in collaboration with Ben Hecht, Ladies and Gentlemen (filmed as Perfect Strangers), Twentieth Century and the frequently filmed The Front Page, which was based in part on MacArthur’s experiences at the City News Bureau of Chicago. MacArthur also co-wrote, with… read more
Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood & Broadway’s greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing partner and friend Charles MacArthur, with whom he wrote the classic play The Front Page) for The Scoundrel (1935) (the other nominations were for Viva Villa! (1934) in 1935, Wuthering Heights (1939) (shared with MacArthur), Angels Over Broadway (1940), and Notorious (1946). The latter two for best original screenplay. Hecht wrote fast and he wrote well, and was called upon by many producers as a highly paid script doctor. He was paid $10,000 by producer David O. Selznick for a fast doctoring of the Gone with the Wind (1939) script, for which he received no credit and for which Sidney Howard won an Oscar, beating out Hecht and MacArthur’s “Wuthering Heights” script.
Born on February… read more