Veteran screenwriter and playwright was 101

Screenwriter and playwright Aleen Leslie, the oldest living Writers Guild member, died Feb. 2 in Beverly Hills. She was 101.

Leslie started writing for Pennsylvania’s Pittsburg Press at the age of 17. After moving to Hollywood, she talked her way into Universal Studios and began writing two-reelers for the Three Stooges.

A Writers Guild member since 1938, she was one of the few female screenwriters working at the time and worked at every studio in Hollywood. Among her 19 credited movies were “Father Was a Fullback” with Fred MacMurray, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood, “The Doctor Takes a Wife” with Ray Milland and Loretta Young and “Father is a Bachelor” with William Holden.

Her other screenwriting credits include “Rosie the Riveter,” “The Stork Pays Off” and “Henry Aldrich’s Little Secret,” one in a popular series of films she co-wrote including “Henry Aldrich Swings It,” “Henry Aldrich Plays Cupid” and “Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour.”

Just before the Screen Writers Guild became the Writers Guild of America, she was its vice president for a six-month term.

Although she dated the Epstein brothers and the Kanin brothers, she claimed that “marrying a Hollywoodian would be too chancy.” Instead she married Jacques Leslie of Pittsburgh, who became an entertainment attorney.

In the 1940s, she created the radio show, “A Date with Judy” for actress Helen Mack, which also had a run on television and became a feature film with Elizabeth Taylor.

She also wrote two novels, “The Scent of the Roses” and “The Windfall,” plus a multitude of plays, some produced at The Pasadena Playhouse, as well as at theaters in New York and San Francisco. Her daughter, author Diane Leslie, based a main character in her 1999 novel “Fleur De Leigh’s Life of Crime,” around her mother.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Jacques Leslie Jr.; a brother; three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Doctors without Borders.

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