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This lady I wish people knew more. They know her in literature and poetry classes but they don’t know her as a screenwriter. Guesses? Dorothy Parker. Dorothy Parker right who happily said , “You can lead a whore of culture but you can’t make her think.” Yeah Exactly. Dorothy was nominated for two Oscars. She was from New York. She was of that world the Algonquin Round Table. She came out here because there was lots of money to be made. She was married to an actor who was about 12 years her junior and everyone thought that was a crazy marriage. There were a few women doing that back in the day. He wanted to write in Hollywood because there was more money out here. So they came out here. They wrote several movies. These movies she did — they ended up divorcing — so she got the Oscars when she wasn’t working with him. She had the nominations. What she did with him is “A Star Is Born”, the original “A Star Is Born” which I must tell you, in my class one day I was having people name their favorite movies and of course some would name “A Star is Born” and I said “Which version?” and she said “There’s more than one?” Yeah that was really sad.
Dr. Rosanne Welch discusses the women in her new book “When Women Wrote Hollywood” which covers female screenwriters from the Silents through the early 1940s when women wrote over 50% of films and Frances Marion was the highest paid screenwriter (male or female) and the first to win 2 Oscars. Yet, she fails to appear in film history books, which continue to regurgitate the myth that male directors did it all – even though it’s been proven that the only profitable movies Cecil B. de Mille ever directed were all written by Jeannie Macpherson film ever won for Best Picture was written by Robert E. Sherwood (who people have heard of, mostly due to his connection to Dorothy Parker) and Joan Harrison.
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