George S. Kaufman

Hoofers and helmers

Where would the Marx Brothers have been without Kaufman’s hilarious book for their stage vehicles “Animal Crackers” and “The Cocoanuts”? No one wrote and directed more successful stage comedies than Kaufman. His illustrious collaborators ran the gamut from Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin to Edna Ferber and Moss Hart, who with Kaufman gave the theater “The Royal Family,” “Of Thee I Sing” (for which he won his first Pulitzer Prize), “Dinner at Eight,” “You Can’t Take It With You” (his second Pulitzer) and “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Kaufman helmed them all, as well as some projects he did not pen: “The Front Page,” “My Sister Eileen” and “Guys and Dolls.” His sharp wit fit with his glittering friends at the Algonquin Round Table — Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott and Robert Benchley.

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