Dorothy Rothschild Parker, 1893 - 1967

portrait of Dorothy Parker
1943 portrait by George Platt Lynes

Born: 22 August 1893, Long Branch, New Jersey
Died: 7 June 1967, New York City

Born Dorothy Rothschild at her family's beach cottage, raised in Manhattan. Her mother died when she was five, the stepmother she hated and referred to as "the housekeeper" died five years later. Dot attended elementary school at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament, was asked to leave when she insisted on referring to the immaculate conception as spontaneous combustion. After her father died in 1913 she played piano in a dance school by night and composed verse by day. Sold her first poem to Vanity Fair in 1914, joined the staff of Vogue the next year, became a staff writer at Vanity Fair in 1917. Married Edwin Parker II in 1917, he went in the Army, the marriage lasted until 1928. In 1919, while writing theater criticism for Vanity Fair, began lunching at the Algonquin Hotel with magazine staff, which led to what was called the Algonquin Round Table, the nexus of the literary life of New York. Wrote book reviews as "Constant Reader" for The New Yorker. Broadway producers upset by her caustic reviews led to her being fired at Vanity Fair. Married Alan Campbell in 1934 and decamped for Hollywood where she wrote song lyrics and screen plays, specializing in dialogue. Divorced Campbell in 1947, married him again in 1950, left him in 1952 to return to New York where she reviewed books for Esquire, reconciled and moved back to Hollywood for the last two years of Campbell's life. Despite being one of the most quoted writers in America, she struggled with alcohol and depression, and attempted suicide four times. She left her estate to the Martin Luther King, Jr foundation, her estate passed to the NAACP on his death. Her cremains were stored in various places for 17 years before the NAACP established a memorial garden for them at their Baltimore headquarters.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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