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Chayefsky, Paddy (29 January 1923–01 August 1981), writer for stage, screen, and television, was born Sidney Chayefsky in the Bronx, New York, the son of Harry Chayefsky, at the time an executive with a dairy, and Gussie Stuchevsky. After school at DeWitt Clinton High School and City College of New York, where he graduated in 1943, Chayefsky was drafted into the army and shipped to Germany. A notoriously sloppy and lazy soldier, Chayefsky earned his nickname, Paddy, when he tried to get out of kitchen duty to attend Catholic mass. After he was injured by a land mine he was shipped to a London hospital, where he and a composer friend wrote a musical, ...

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Kanin, Garson (24 November 1912–13 March 1999), author and director, was born in Rochester, New York, one of two sons of David Kanin, a builder, and his wife Sadie Levine Kanin. When Kanin was twelve, the family moved to Brooklyn, where he attended James Madison High School, dropping out in 1929. Before enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Kanin had his own jazz band (Garson Kay and His Red Peppers), toured as a vaudeville comedian, narrated radio programs, and appeared in summer theater. He graduated in 1933 and was soon receiving good notices for high-energy comedy roles on Broadway. His appearances in the madcap farces ...

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Muse, Clarence E. (07 October 1889–13 October 1979), actor, producer, and writer of plays and films, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Alexander Muse and Mary Sales. He was educated at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he became interested in music and participated in choral groups; although he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international law in 1911, he immediately embarked on a musical and theatrical career. In 1907 he married Frieda Belle Moore; the marriage was apparently dissolved soon after the birth of their son in 1910....

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Sherwood, Robert Emmet (04 April 1896–14 November 1955), writer, editor, and critic, was born in New Rochelle, New York, the son of Arthur Murray Sherwood, a stockbroker and member of the New York Stock Exchange, and Rosina Emmet, an artist and illustrator. He was named for an ancestor, Robert Emmet, the Irish patriot. When Sherwood was one year old, the family moved to New York City. After 1906, summers were spent at Skene Wood, in Westport, New York, on Lake Champlain, “the most beautiful place in the world.” Sherwood’s writing career began at age seven, when he edited a hand-printed magazine called ...

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Preston Sturges Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1915. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-0960).

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Sturges, Preston (29 August 1898–06 August 1959), director, playwright, and screenwriter, was born Edmund Preston Biden in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Edmund C. Biden, a bill collector, and Mary Dempsey, an aspiring musician. His parents soon separated; his mother took him to Paris, where she became close friends with ...