Hecht, Ben

born Feb. 28, 1894, New York, N.Y., U.S.
died April 18, 1964, New York City

U.S. journalist, novelist, playwright, and film writer.

He worked for Chicago newspapers 1910–22; at the Daily News he perfected a type of human-interest sketch that was widely emulated. Later he divided his time between New York and Hollywood. With Charles MacArthur he wrote the plays The Front Page (1928), which influenced both the public's and the newspaper industry's ideas about the newspaper world; Twentieth Century (produced 1932); and Ladies and Gentlemen (produced 1939). His film scripts, often written with MacArthur, include Gunga Din (1938), Wuthering Heights (1939), Spellbound (1945), and Notorious (1946).

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▪ American writer
born Feb. 28, 1894, New York City
died April 18, 1964, New York City

      American novelist, playwright, and film writer who, as a newspaperman in the 1920s, perfected a type of human interest sketch that was widely emulated. His play The Front Page (1928), written with Charles MacArthur, influenced the public's idea of the newspaper world and the newspaperman's idea of himself.

      Hecht was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, and after attending high school in Racine, Wis., he moved to Chicago, then in the midst of an artistic and literary renascence. He worked as a reporter for the Chicago Journal (1910–14) and then the Chicago Daily News, which sent him to Berlin during the revolutionary upheaval following World War I. From this experience came some of the material for his first novel, Erik Dorn (1921). For the Daily News he developed a column that formed the basis of his collection of sketches A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago (1922).

      He was dismissed by the Daily News after his novel Fantazius Mallare (1922) was seized by the government on obscenity charges. He was associated in Chicago with the bohemian novelist and poet Maxwell Bodenheim (Bodenheim, Maxwell) (q.v.).

      Lively reminiscences of Hecht's Chicago years are found in his Gaily, Gaily (1963; motion-picture version 1969, British title Chicago, Chicago), Letters from Bohemia (1946), and his autobiography, A Child of the Century (1954).

      Hecht later divided his time between New York City and Hollywood. He collaborated with MacArthur (MacArthur, Charles) on another successful stage comedy, Twentieth Century (1923). In Hollywood he wrote scripts, often with MacArthur, for a number of successful motion pictures, among them The Front Page (film version 1931), The Scoundrel (1935), Nothing Sacred (1937), Gunga Din (1938), Wuthering Heights (1939), Spellbound (1945), and Notorious (1946). Hecht also wrote the script for the film Spectre of the Rose (1946).

      Hecht's last Broadway success was Ladies and Gentlemen (1939; also with MacArthur). Columns written for the New York newspaper PM appeared as 1001 Afternoons in New York (1941). Among his other works are A Guide for the Bedevilled (1944), an analysis of anti-Semitism; Collected Stories (1945); and Perfidy (1961), which concerns the struggle to establish Israel.

Additional Reading
William MacAdams, Ben Hecht: The Man Behind the Legend (1990).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • HECHT, BEN — (1893–1964), U.S. novelist and playwright. Born in New York City, Hecht was brought up in Racine, Wisconsin. He rebelled against a college education and after a variety of jobs became a reporter first on the Chicago Journal then on the Chicago… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Hecht,Ben — Hecht (hĕkt), Ben. 1894 1964. American writer of short stories, novels, such as Erik Dorn (1921), dramas, including The Front Page (1928), written with Charles MacArthur (1895 1956), and screenplays, such as Gunga Din (1938). * * * …   Universalium

  • Hecht, Ben — (1894 1964)    Born in New York and reared in Wisconsin, Ben Hecht is identified with Chicago, the locale used in his best known play, coauthored with Charles MacArthur*: The Front Page (1928), a scathing and hilarious melodrama of 1920s yellow… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Hecht, Ben — • ХЕКТ (Hecht) Бен (28.2.1894 21.4.1964)    амер. сценарист, режиссёр. После успеха снятых по его сц. ф. Подполье (1927, пр. Оскар , 1927 28), Лицо со шрамом (1932), Да здравствует Вилья! (1934) вошёл в число лучших сценаристов Голливуда. В 1934… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Hecht, Ben — (1893–1964)    US writer. A hard hitting and controversial Chicago reporter, Hecht scored his first stage success as co author of The Front Page (1928) and became a leading Hollywood script writer. He was a vehement supporter of the dissident… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Hecht, Ben — (1893 1964)    American novelist and playwright. He was born in New York and grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. He wrote plays and novels, including Jew in Love. In the 1940s he became an advocate of the Palestinian underground organi zaton Irgun… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Hecht, Ben — (28 feb. 1894, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.–18 abr. 1964, Nueva York). Periodista, novelista, dramaturgo y guionista cinematográfico estadounidense. Trabajó en periódicos de Chicago en 1910–22. En el Daily News perfeccionó un tipo de ensayo de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Ben — /ben/, n. a male given name, form of Benjamin. * * * (as used in expressions) Akiba ben Joseph Alfasi Isaac ben Jacob Alkalai Judah ben Solomon Hai Abba Mari ben Moses ben Joseph Israel ben Eliezer Ben Ali Zine el Abidine Ben Bella Ahmed Ben… …   Universalium

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