Dorothy Parker 1893 – 1967
Known for her acerbic wit, writing in popular magazines such as Vanity Fair as a theatre critic and staff writer as well as a caustic book reviewer. She also wrote short, viciously humorous, self-deprecating poems for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Vogue. She was a founder of the Algonquin Round Table, a luncheon club of fellow New York wits of which she later said “it was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn’t have to be any truth in it”.
The first volume of her poetry, ‘Enough Rope’, in 1926 , sold well and was impressively reviewed, though labelled as ‘flapper verse’. Other poetry books followed together with collections of short stories.
She had been born Dorothy Rothschild in New Jersey and joked that she married stockbroker Edwin Parker to escape her Jewish name. She had numerous affairs, but eventually began a tempestuous relationship with an ambitious screenwriter, Alan Campbell, with whom she wrote numerous film scripts in Hollywood. During the 1930’s and 40’s, she became increasingly vocal in her support of civil liberties and rights and moved towards active support for Communist causes such as the Spanish Civil War as well as raising funds for the “Hollywood anti-Nazi league”, a front for Communist sympathisers. By the 1950’s, her on/ off relationship with Campbell and increasingly heavy drinking marred her working ability and on his death from drugs, she moved back to New York where she died in 1967. She left her entire estate to Dr Martin Luther King.