Dorothy Parker (Rothschild) (1893 - 1967) MP

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Nicknames: "Dorothy (Rothschild) Parker Campbell", "Constant Reader"
Birthplace: Ocean Avenue, West End, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States
Death: Died in New York, New York , New York, United States
Cause of death: Heart attack
Occupation: writer
Managed by: Erica Isabel Howton, (c)
Last Updated:

About Dorothy Parker (Rothschild)

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles.

Family

Parents: Jacob Henry Rothschild and Eliza Annie Marston.

Married:

  1. in 1917 to Edwin Pond Parker ll (1893-1933)
  2. in 1934 to Alan Campbell (died 1963) divorced in 1947; remarried in 1950 and remained married (although they lived apart from 1952–1961) until his death in 1963 in West Hollywood. [51]

Notes

In a way, Dorothy Parker epitomized the transition between the Twenties and the Thirties, between romanticism and reality, between boom and bust. Her best work incorporates the sentimentality of the Twenties and the rude awakening in the Thirties, a decade when the world was willing to forego the beau geste for tangible assets.

  • A single flow'r he sent me,
  • since we met.
  • All tenderly his messenger
  • he chose;
  • Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew
  • still wet--
  • One perfect rose.
  • Why is it no one ever sent me yet
  • One perfect limousine,
  • do you suppose?
  • Ah no, it's always just my luck
  • to get
  • One perfect rose.

Brief Biography

Dorothy Parker was born to J. Henry and Elizabeth Rothschild on Aug. 22, 1893, at their summer home in West End, New Jersey. The family cottage was on Ocean Avenue; it burned down before World War I. Dorothy's mother died in West End when she was four years old.

Growing up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, her childhood was an unhappy one. Both her mother and step-mother died when she was young; her uncle, Martin Rothschild, went down on the Titanic in 1912; and her father died the following year. Young Dorothy attended a Catholic grammar school, then a finishing school in Morristown, NJ. Her formal education abruptly ended when she was 14.

In 1914, Dorothy sold her first poem to Vanity Fair. At age 22, she took an editorial job at Vogue. She continued to write poems for newspapers and magazines, and in 1917 she joined Vanity Fair, taking over for P.G. Wodehouse as drama critic. At the time she was the first female critic on Broadway. That same year she married a stockbroker, Edwin P. Parker. But the marriage was tempestuous, and the couple divorced in 1928.

In 1919, Parker became a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, an informal gathering of writers who lunched at the Algonquin Hotel. The "Vicious Circle" included Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S Kaufman, and Edna Ferber, and was known for its scathing wit and intellectual commentary. In 1922, Parker published her first short story, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," for Smart Set.

When The New Yorker debuted in 1925, Parker was listed on the editorial board. Over the years, she contributed poetry, fiction and book reviews as the "Constant Reader." Parker's first collection of poetry, Enough Rope, was published in 1926, and was a bestseller. Her two subsequent collections were Sunset Gun in 1928 and Death and Taxes in 1931. Her collected fiction came out in 1930 as Laments for the Living.

During the 1920s, Parker traveled to Europe several times. She befriended Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, socialites Gerald and Sara Murphy, and contributed articles to The New Yorker and Life. While her work was successful and she was well-regarded for her wit and conversational abilities, she suffered from depression and alcoholism and attempted suicide.

In 1929, she won the O. Henry Award for her autobiographical short story "Big Blonde." She produced short fiction in the early 1930s, and also began writing drama reviews for the New Yorker. In 1934, Parker married actor-writer Alan Campbell in New Mexico; the couple relocated to Los Angeles and became a highly paid screenwriting team. They labored for MGM and Paramount on mostly forgettable features, the highlight being an Academy Award nomination for A Star Is Born in 1937. They divorced in 1947, and remarried in 1950.

Parker was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1959 and was a visiting professor at California State College in Los Angeles in 1963. That same year, her husband died of an overdose. On June 6, 1967, Parker was found dead of a heart attack in a New York City hotel at age 73. A firm believer in civil rights, she bequeathed her literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Upon his assassination some months later, the estate was turned over to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Dorothy Parker remains were cremated and her ashes interred in a memorial garden at the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.

Copyright 2005 Kevin C. Fitzpatrick.

Quotes

• I'm never going to be famous. I don't do anything, not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more.

• I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.

• Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.

• I know that there are things that never have been funny, and never will be. And I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon.

• I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound -- if I can remember any of the damn things.

• I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.

• Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.

• The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'cheque enclosed.'

• If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

• The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

• Now, look, baby, 'Union' is spelled with 5 letters. It is not a four-letter word.

• It serves me right for keeping all my eggs in one bastard.

• Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.

• Scratch a lover, and find a foe.

• That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them.

• People are more fun than anybody.

• She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

When asked what she would like written on her tombstone, she replied "Pardon My Dust".

Audio Visual

Links

Citations

  • [51] Silverstein 58
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Dorothy Parker's Timeline

1893
August 22, 1893
West End, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States
1967
June 6, 1967
Age 73
New York, New York , New York, United States
1967
Age 73
cremated and her ashes interred in a memorial garden at the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.
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