Robert E. Sherwood

Franklin Library Robert E. Sherwood books

Three Plays by Robert E. Sherwood - Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1984

Writer Robert E. Sherwood

Robert E. Sherwood, born on April 4, 1896, in New Rochelle, New York, was an influential American playwright, screenwriter, and speechwriter, celebrated for his contributions to literature, theater, and politics during the first half of the 20th century. Sherwood attended Harvard University, where he excelled academically and became involved in writing for campus publications. After graduating in 1918, he served in World War I as a member of the U.S. Army, an experience that profoundly influenced his worldview and later informed much of his writing.

Upon returning from the war, Sherwood began his career as a journalist, working for various publications including Vanity Fair and Life magazine. His keen observations of society and politics provided fodder for his burgeoning interest in playwriting. Sherwood's breakthrough came in 1930 with the success of his play The Road to Rome, which earned him critical acclaim and established him as a prominent playwright on Broadway. He went on to write several more successful plays, including Idiot's Delight (1936), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938), a biographical drama about the life of President Abraham Lincoln. In addition to his achievements in the theater, Sherwood made significant contributions to the film industry as a screenwriter. He penned screenplays for notable films such as The Petrified Forest (1936) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), the latter of which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Beyond his artistic endeavors, Sherwood was also deeply involved in politics, serving as a speechwriter and advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II. He played a key role in crafting Roosevelt's speeches and communicating the administration's policies to the American public, earning him a reputation as a skilled wordsmith and strategist.

Throughout his career, Robert E. Sherwood was celebrated for his insightful portrayals of human nature, his mastery of dialogue, and his ability to capture the zeitgeist of his time. He passed away on November 14, 1955, leaving behind a rich legacy of literary and dramatic works that continue to resonate with audiences today.

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