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Ring Lardner, Jr.'s memoir is a pilgrimage through the American century. The son of an immensely popular and influential writer, Lardner grew up swaddled in material and cultural privilege. After a memorable visit to Moscow in 1934, he worked as a reporter in New York before leaving for Hollywood where he served a bizarre apprenticeship with David O. Selznick, and won, at the age of 28, an Academy Award for Woman of the Year, the first on-screen pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. In "irresistibly readable" pages (New Yorker), peopled by a cast including Carole Lombard, Louis B. Mayer, Dalton Trumbo, Marlene Dietrich, Otto Preminger, Darryl F. Zanuck, Bertolt Brecht, Bert Lahr, Robert Altman, and Muhammad Ali, Lardner recalls the strange existence of a contract screenwriter in the vanished age of the studio system an existence made stranger by membership in the Hollywood branch of the American Communist Party. Lardner retraces the path that led him to a memorable confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee and thence to Federal prison and life on the Hollywood blacklist. One of the lucky few who were able to resume their careers, Lardner won his second Oscar for the screenplay to M.A.S.H. in 1970.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781632260635
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Ring Lardner Jr., the third son of a famous American writer, attended Andover and Princeton and in 1935, went to Hollywood to become a scriptwriter. In 1942 he cowrote, with Michael Kanin, the comedy "Woman of the Year," which won the Academy Award for best original screenplay. Because of his refusal to reveal his beliefs and associations in 1947 before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Lardner was blacklisted in Hollywood and three years later, sentenced to a year in prison. During that time he began research on his novel THE ECSTACY OF OWEN MUIR (1954), a searing indictment of American society during the McCarthy era. In addition to his other books ALL FOR LOVE and THE LARDNERS; MY FAMILY REMEMBERED, Lardner wrote for "The Nation," "Esquire," the "New York Times," and the "Washington Post." Among his screenwriting credits following his blacklisting are "The Cincinnati Kid" and "M*A*S*H," the latter of which won the 1970 Grand Prix at Cannes. Victor S. Navasky has served as editor, publisher and now publisher emeritus of The Nation and presently at the Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Delacorte Center of Magazines and chairs the Columbia Journalism Review.
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