Celebrated on the Illinois State Library Gwendolyn Brooks Building
Pen Name: None
Born: February 28, 1894 in New York City
Died: April 18, 1964 in New York City
Hecht 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 moved from journalism to a successful career as a novelist, Broadway playwright and prolific Hollywood screenwriter. As a writer for the Chicago Daily News, he wrote a column that became the basis for the collection of sketches, A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago. 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).
Hecht was called "the most influential writer in the history of American movies." He was nominated six times for the Academy Award, winning twice - in 1929 for The Scoundrel and in 1936 for Underworld.
- Erik Dorn, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1921 - reprinted by IndyPublish, 2008
- A Thousand and One Afternoon's In Chicago, McGee/Covici, 1922 - reprinted by University of Chicago Press, 2009
- Fantazius Mallare, a Mysterious Oath, Pascal Covici, 1922
- Gargoyles, Boni and Liveright, 1922 - reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, 2007
- The Florentine Dagger: A Novel for Amateur Detectives, Boni and Liveright Publishers, 1923
- Kingdom of Evil, Pascal Covici, 1924 - reprinted by Ayer Co. Pub, 1987
- Broken Necks, Pascal Covici, 1926
- Count Bruga, Boni & Liveright, 1926 - reprinted by Avon books, 1943
- The Front Page, Covici-Friede, 1928 - reprinted by Smith & Kraus Pub Inc, 2002
- A Jew in Love, Friede Covici, 1931
- The Champion From Far Away, Friede Covici, 1931 and 1936
- Actor's Blood, Friede Covici, 1936
- The Book of Miracles, Viking Press, 1939
- Miracle in the Rain, Alfred A. Knopf, 1943
- A Guide for the Bedevilled, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1944 - reprinted by Milah Press, 1999
- 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 - reprinted by Mayflower, 1964
- A Child of the Century, Simon & Schuster, 1954 - reprinted in 1985
- A Treasury of Ben Hecht, Collected Stories and Other Writings, Crown Publishers, 1959
- The Sensualist, Dell, 1959
- Perfidy, Milah Press, 1961 - reprinted in 1997
- Letters From Bohemia, Doubleday, 1963
- Gaily, Gaily, Doubleday, 1963
Titles at Your Library
The Front Page: From Theater to Reality (The Art of Theater Series)
Release Date: 2002-10
Concerning a Woman of Sin
Release Date: 1969-04
A Child of the Century
Release Date: 1985-05-30
In 1990, his name was engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures.
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