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Edna Ferber
Edna Ferber.jpg
circa 1904
Born August 15, 1885
Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
Died April 16, 1968 (age 82)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Novelist, playwright
Nationality United States
Genre drama, romance

Edna Ferber (August 15, 1885[1] – April 16, 1968) was an American novelist, short story writer and playwright. Her novels were especially popular and included the Pulitzer Prize-winning So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926; made into the celebrated 1927 musical), Cimarron (1929; made into the 1931 film which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), and Giant (1952; made into the 1956 Hollywood movie).

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Ferber was born August 15, 1885, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to a Hungarian-born Jewish storekeeper, Jacob Charles Ferber, and his Milwaukee, Wisconsin-born wife, Julia (Neumann) Ferber. After living in Chicago, Illinois, and Ottumwa, Iowa, at the age of 12 Ferber and her family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where she graduated from high school and briefly attended Lawrence University. She took newspaper jobs at the Appleton Daily Crescent and the Milwaukee Journal before publishing her first novel. She covered the 1920 Republican National Convention and 1920 Democratic National Convention for the United Press Association.

Career[edit]

Ferber's novels generally featured strong female protagonists, along with a rich and diverse collection of supporting characters. She usually highlighted at least one strong secondary character who faced discrimination ethnically or for other reasons; through this technique, Ferber demonstrated her belief that people are people and that the not-so-pretty people have the best character.

Several theatrical and film productions have been based on her works, including Show Boat, Giant, Ice Palace, Saratoga Trunk, Cimarron (which won an Oscar) and the 1960 remake. Three of these works – Show Boat, Saratoga Trunk and Giant – have been developed into musicals.

When composer Jerome Kern proposed turning the very serious Show Boat into a musical, Ferber was shocked, thinking it would be transformed into a typical light entertainment of the 1920s. It was not until Kern explained that he and Oscar Hammerstein II wanted to create a different type of musical that Ferber granted him the rights. Saratoga, based on Saratoga Trunk, was written at a much later date, after serious plots had become acceptable in stage musicals.

In 1925, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book So Big, which was made into a silent film starring Colleen Moore that same year. An early talkie movie remake followed, in 1932, starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent, with Bette Davis in a supporting role. A 1953 remake of So Big starring Jane Wyman in the Stanwyck role is the version most often seen today.

Ferber was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of wits who met for lunch every day at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. Ferber and another member of the Round Table, Alexander Woollcott, were long-time enemies, their antipathy lasting until Woollcott's death in 1943, although Howard Teichmann states in his biography of Woollcott that their feud was due to a misunderstanding. According to Teichmann, Ferber once described Woollcott as "a New Jersey Nero who has mistaken his pinafore for a toga."

Ferber collaborated with Round Table member George S. Kaufman on several plays presented on Broadway, most notably The Royal Family (1927), Dinner At Eight (1932) and Stage Door (1936).

Plaque located in Manhattan, at 65th Street & Central Park West, in the building in which Edna Ferber lived for six years

Personal life[edit]

Ferber never married, had no children, and is not known to have engaged in a romance or sexual relationship.[2] In her early novel Dawn O'Hara, the title character's aunt is said to have remarked, "Being an old maid was a great deal like death by drowning – a really delightful sensation when you ceased struggling." Ferber did take a maternal interest in the career of her niece Janet Fox, an actress who performed in the original Broadway casts of Ferber's plays Dinner at Eight and Stage Door.

Ferber died at her home in New York City, of stomach cancer,[3] at the age of 82.

Legacy[edit]

Ferber was portrayed by the actress Lili Taylor in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.[4]

In 2008, The Library of America selected Ferber's article "Miss Ferber Views 'Vultures' at Trial" for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.

On July 29, 2002, in her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin, the U.S. Postal Service issued an 83¢ Distinguished Americans series postage stamp honoring her. Artist Mark Summers, well known for his scratchboard technique, created this portrait for the stamp referencing a black-and-white photograph of Ferber taken in 1927.[5]

Works[edit]

Musicals adapted from Ferber novels:

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Boudreau, Richard (1986). The Literary Heritage of Wisconsin: Beginnings to 1925. Juniper Press. p. 412. "Though she generally claimed 1887 as her birth year, an entry in her mother's diary reveals that Edna Ferber was born in 1885 in Kalamazoo, Michigan...." 
  2. ^ Ferber has been rumored to be a lesbian in several undocumented sources. Professor John Unsworth makes an unsupported claim in John Sutherland (2007) Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction Oxford University Press: 53. Haggerty and Zimmerman imply she was gay because of her visits to Provincetown in the early 20th century (Haggerty and Zimmerman (2000), Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, Taylor and Francis, p. 610). Porter (Porter, Darwin (2004) Katherine the Great, Blood Moon Productions, Ltd, p. 204) comments in passing that Ferber was a lesbian, but offers no support. Burrough (Burrough, Brian (2010) The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes, Penguin) also remarks in passing that Ferber was gay, citing the biography written by Julie Goldsmith Gilbert (Ferber's great niece, see bibliography). Gilbert, however, makes no mention of lesbian relationships.
  3. ^ Great American Writers: Twentieth Century
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database entry for Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
  5. ^ The Postal Store (2008). "Distinguished Americans Series: Edna Ferber". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
Bibliography
  • Ferber, Edna (1960). A Peculiar Treasure. New York: Doubleday. 
  • Gilbert, Julie Goldsmith (2000). Edna Ferber and Her Circle, A Biography. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_Ferber — Please support Wikipedia.
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1061 videos foundNext > 

Edna Ferber Quotes

What was your favorite Edna Ferber quote? 'Like' and leave a comment below, then jump over to http://quotetank.com/quotes-by/edna-ferber and make a list of y...

The Homely Heroine by Edna Ferber

LibriVox recording of The Homely Heroine, by Edna Ferber. Read by Phil Chenevert Who ever heard of a plain and downright homely heroine? Isn't a heroine by d...

Sundried by Edna Ferber

Adrienne Reading a monologue as character Mary Louis, a writer.

Personality Plus by Edna Ferber Chapter 2 Free Audio Books

We have 100's Free Audio Books, literally 1000's of hours of Free classical literature read by people from both sides of the Atlantic, Go ON! Hit the Subscri...

Victoria Kite- Selections from Stage Door

Selections from Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman's Stage Door. Victoria Kite as Mrs. Shaw.

The Ten-Year Lunch; Wits & Legends of the Algonquin Round Table (Complete)

The Algonquin Round Table set the standard for literary style and wit beyond its ten-year duration. After World War I, Vanity Fair writers and Algonquin regu...

Personality Plus by Edna Ferber Chapter 1 Free Audio Books

We have 100's Free Audio Books, literally 1000's of hours of Free classical literature read by people from both sides of the Atlantic, Go ON! Hit the Subscri...

Rock Hudson - " Giant " Trailer - 1956

Directed by George Stevens. Based on the novel by : Edna Ferber. Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Janes Withers, Chill Wills, Carroll Baker, Dennis Hopper, Sal ...

Edna Ferber - Mary Louise Moss

1st monologue ever. Please review! Thanks in advance.

Giant by Edna Ferber - Complete Scene 3:13

1061 videos foundNext > 

969 news items

 
Daily Beast
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 19:23:02 -0700

Miss Edna Ferber, the novelist, who lives in Central Park West, may not vote this year, because of something that happened when she registered prior to the last election. The clerk was taking down the facts about her: name, address, age, and so on ...
 
New York Times
Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:03:45 -0800

12:15 P.M. (TCM) GIANT (1956) George Stevens won an Oscar for best director for this ranch-to-riches epic, based on the novel by Edna Ferber, starring Rock Hudson as a cattle baron, Elizabeth Taylor as his well-bred Eastern wife and James Dean as a ...

U-T San Diego

U-T San Diego
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:05:47 -0800

"Rain" is based on W. Somerset Maugham's short story of the same name. Sybille Pearson is writing the adaptation; she and LaChiusa previously worked together on the off-Broadway musical "Giant," based on the Edna Ferber novel. LaChiusa is known for ...
 
San Jose Mercury News
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 23:18:45 -0800

Subject: GIANTS. (e.g., A professional American football team. Answer: New York Giants.) Freshman Level. 1. Title of a film and a novel by Edna Ferber. 2. The Bible's best-known giant. 3. Fairy-tale character known for killing giants. Graduate Level. 4.

TheAlternativePress.com

TheAlternativePress.com
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:07:30 -0800

Stage Door was written by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. It is a play about girls trying to pursue an acting career while living at the boarding home of Mrs. Orcutt. To pay the rent, many of the girls have poor jobs or are in plays that only show ...
 
Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:06:45 -0800

On Thursday, Gordon will make his Poolesville directorial debut with the drama club's production of “Stage Door,” written by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman in 1936 about a group of female stage actors living together in a boarding house. Gordon said ...

Austin Chronicle

Austin Chronicle
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:14:45 -0800

The Random House backlist is put to good use with these paperback re-releases of novels that made the leap to screen, including Edna Ferber's Cimarron and Show Boat and R.A. Dick's entrancing The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Criterion Designs (The Criterion ...

TheaterMania.com

TheaterMania.com
Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:11:15 -0800

Show Boat, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's theatrical game changer inspired by Edna Ferber's novel, has sailed into Avery Fisher Hall for a concert production featuring the New York Philharmonic. Hewing closely to the original 1927 material (as ...
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