Dorothy Rothschild Parker, 1893 - 1967
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.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are often "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Dorothy Parker quotes:
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- A girl's best friend is her mutter. permalink
- A list of authors who have made themselves most beloved and therefore, most comfortable financially, shows that it is our national joy to mistake for the first-rate, the fecund rate. permalink
- A little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika. permalink
- Age before beauty; and pearls before swine. permalink
- All those writers who write about their childhood! Gentle God, if I wrote about mine you wouldn't sit in the same room with me. permalink
Dorothy Parker - The Paris Review interview (Summer 1956)
- And it is that word 'hummy,' my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader fwowed up. permalink
Dorothy Parker - "Constant Reader" review, The New Yorker (20 October 1928)
- As for helping me in the outside world, the Convent taught me only that if you spit on a pencil eraser, it will erase ink. permalink
- At birth the Devil touched my tongue. permalink
- Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much. permalink
- Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone. permalink
- Brevity is the soul of lingerie. permalink
- But now I know the things I know,
and do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
to hell, my love, with you! permalink
- Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship. permalink
- Don't look at me in that tone of voice. permalink
- Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.) permalink
Dorothy Parker - "The Flaw in Paganism" in Death and Taxes (1931)
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