March 3, 2004 by

Jerome Lawrence

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Categories: Education, Hollywood, Media, Military, Writers/Editors

jlawrence.jpgJerome Lawrence Schwartz, one half of the team that wrote the Broadway hits “Inherit the Wind” and “Auntie Mame,” died on Feb. 29 from complications of a stroke. He was 88.
Lawrence graduated from Ohio State University and worked as a reporter and editor for two daily newspapers before moving to Los Angeles in 1937 to work for radio station KMPC. Two years later, he became a senior staff writer for CBS radio in Los Angeles and New York, where he met playwright Robert E. Lee in a Madison Avenue bar. They enlisted in the Army during World War II and helped to establish the Armed Forces Radio Service. Their 50-year collaboration began with the production of patriotic programs for D-Day, VE-Day and VJ-Day.
After the end of the war, Lawrence and Lee worked together on numerous radio plays and 39 widely produced stage plays. They were best known for writing “Inherit the Wind,” which was based on the 1925 Scopes monkey trial. “Inherit” ran for three years on Broadway, sold almost 2.5 million copies in printed form, became an award-winning movie starring Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly and earned four Tony Award nominations.
The prolific pair also adapted the Patrick Dennis novel, “Auntie Mame,” into a 1956 Broadway comedy about a free-spirited New York socialite. Angela Lansbury originated the role on stage, and Rosalind Russell played the lead in the 1958 film of the same name. Lawrence and Lee won two Peabody Awards for distinguished Achievement in Broadcasting, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Theatre Association. Lee died from cancer in 1994.
In the final years of his life, Lawrence taught at the University of Southern California, and wrote the biography, “Actor: The Life and Times of Paul Muni.” He was inducted into the national Theatre Hall of Fame in 1990.
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3 Responses to Jerome Lawrence

  1. Hugo Zuniga Garcia

    A Sprsial Thankyou To My Best Frien Jerry
    I Spend Olmos 10 Years of My Lyfe Helped Hem
    Keep His Malibu Studio in Order Plus He
    Recomend My Self Whit All His Friends
    I From Mexico He Make My Trancition To Discontri
    More Easy
    Forever Thankyou
    Jerry

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