Ben Hecht

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General Information

Hecht Ben.jpg
Name: Ben Hecht

Pen Name: None

Born: February 28, 1894 in New York City

Died: April 18, 1964 in New York City

Celebrated on the Illinois State Library, Gwendolyn Brooks Building

"A reader is a critic with a very fine and important job- to please himself. It is, however, his job, not mine." - Ben Hecht

Illinois Connection

John worked at Chicago Journal, Chicago Daily News, and Chicago Literary Times between 1910 and 1924.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ben Hecht worked as a reporter in Chicago. He was also an author, Broadway playwright and prolific Hollywood screenwriter. He was nominated six times for the Academy Award, winning twice, in 1929 and in 1936.

Ben Hecht moved from journalism to a successful career as a novelist, playwright and screenwriter. As a writer for the Chicago Daily News, he wrote a columnthat became the basis for the collection of sketches, A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago (1922). Hecht's greatest theatrical success was The Front Page (1928), written with Charles MacArthur and set in a Chicago newsroom. The play set the image of the tough, wisecracking newspaperman for decades. Moving to Hollywood, Hecht wrote, co-wrote or adapted some of the most successful movies of the 1930s, including the film version of The Front Page (1931), Nothing Sacred (1937), Gunga Din (1938) and Wuthering Heights (1939). Some of Hecht's liveliest writing about his Chicago years appears in Gaily, Gaily (1963; filmed in 1969), Letters from Bohemia (1946) and his autobiography, Child of the Century (1954).

Published Works

  • The Florentine Dagger: A Novel for Amateur Detectives, Boni and Liveright Publishers, 1923
  • Broken Necks, Pascal Covici, 1926
  • A Jew in Love, Friede Covici, 1931
  • The Champion From Far Away, Friede Covici, 1936
  • Actor's Blood, Friede Covici, 1936
  • Count Bruga, Avon books, 1943
  • Miracle in the Rain, Alfred A. Knopf, 1943
  • I Hate Actors!, Crown Publishers, 1944
  • The Collected Stories of Ben Hecht, Crown Publishers, 1945
  • Concerning a Woman of Sin and Other Stories, Avon, 1947
  • A Treasury of Ben Hecht, Collected Stories and Other Writings, Crown Publishers, 1959
  • The Sensualist, Dell, 1959
  • Letters From Bohemia, Doubleday, 1963
  • Gaily, Gaily, Doubleday, 1963
  • A Child of the Century, Simon & Schuster, 1954
  • Kingdom Of Evil, Ayer Co. Pub, 1987
  • Perfidy, Milah Press, 1997
  • A Guide for the Bedevilled, Milah Press, 1999
  • The Front Page, Smith & Kraus Pub Inc, 2002
  • Fantazuis Mallare, A Mysterious Oath, Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007
  • My Story, Taylor Trade, 2007
  • A Thousand and One Afternoon's In Chicago, IndyPublish, 2007
  • Gargoyles, Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007
  • Erik Dorn, IndyPublish, 2008

Titles for Purchase and at Your Library

The Front Page: From Theater to Reality (The Art of Theater Series)

ISBN: 1575253100
Release Date: 2002-10

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Concerning a Woman of Sin

ISBN: 0583114369
Release Date: 1969-04

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Letters from Bohemia

ISBN: 1121758010
Release Date: 1964

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The Kingdom of Evil: A Continuation of the Journal of Fantazius Mallare

ISBN: 0405081391
Release Date: 1987-06

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A Child of the Century

ISBN: 091765742X
Release Date: 1985-05-30

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ISBN: 0964688638
Release Date: 1997-01-01

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Guide for the Bedevilled

ISBN: 096468862X
Release Date: 1996-10

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Fantazius Mallare: A Mysterious Oath

ISBN: 1432581031
Release Date: 2007-03-01

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My Story

ISBN: 0739483773
Release Date: 2007

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Literary Awards

In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.

External Links

Ben Hecht on WorldCat

Ben Hecht on Amazon

Ben Hecht on Wikipedia


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