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Charlie: The Improbable Life and Times of Charles MacArthur
Charlie The Improbable Life and Times of Charles MacArthur Author:Ben Hecht Charlie is a book about a Roman candle of a man who lit up the skies of the twenties and thirties. He was Charles MacArthur. He died in 1956, still aglow. Charlie adventured in a dozen worlds. He was part of Chicago's wild and woolly newspaper days of 1915-1920. War was one of his diversions. He was i... more »n all the wars beginning with the one against Pancho Villa - from buck private to colonel.
He collaborated on fine plays: Lulu Belle, The Front Page, Twentieth Century - and fine movies Wuthering Heights, The Scoundrel, Gunga Din, Crime Without Passion. He wrote many other fine movies on his own, among them The Sin of Madelon Claudet; and he wrote a remarkable book, A Bug's Eye View o f the War.
In New York, Charlie was Exhibit A of the town's wits and charmers. He fascinated people who were connoisseurs of fascination. Around him circled the wags and talents of the jazz Age - Harold Ross, Alexander Woollcott, Kaufman and Connelly, Tommy Hitchcock, Neysa McMein, Gene Fowler, George Gershwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ring Lardner, Robert Benchley, Herman Mankiewicz, Herbert Bayard Swope, Dorothy Parker, Jed Harris, David Belasco, Heywood Broun, the Marx Brothers. Their uproar is part of Charlie's story.
Charlie was one of the gayest contributors to Hollywood's heyday. His antics in movieland kept the stars and geniuses of that sand dune agog for decades. Charlie was at home among the celebrities of Europe - from the Grand Dukes to the Left Bank exotics - as he has been among the gangsters of Chicago.
Byron and Cyrano lived in Charlie; and so bright a talker had not been heard since Scheherazade. Charlie also lived one of the most tender and lasting love stories of our time in his thirty years of marriage with the theatre's first lady, Helen Hayes.
Charlie is a book of witty and glamorous history. It is also the story of a man's curious and tragic soul.« less