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S. J. Perelman

Perelman, S. J. (Sidney Joseph Perelman)pĕrˈəlmən, 1904–79, American comic writer, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. He entered the magazine world as a cartoonist for a New York weekly, soon turning from drawing to writing. Perelman became known for the parodic articles filled with outrageous puns and lively wordplay that he contributed to the New Yorker from 1931 on. He also wrote for Broadway, notably the musical One Touch of Venus (1943) and the comedy The Beauty Part (1962). He penned screenplays for such movies as the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business (1931) and Horse Feathers (1932) and the comic epic Around the World in Eighty Days (1956, Academy Award). Perelman's sometimes archly satirical, sometimes uproariously screwball humor is suggested in the titles of some of his best-known books— Strictly from Hunger (1937), Westward Ha! (1948), The Ill-Tempered Clavichord (1952), The Road to Miltown; or, Under the Spreading Atrophy (1957), The Rising Gorge (1961), and Baby It's Cold Inside (1970).

See Don't Tread on Me: The Selected Letters of S. J. Perelman (1987) ed. by P. Crowther; Conversations with S. J. Perelman (1995) ed. by T. Teicholz; S. J. Perelman: A Life (1987) by D. Hermann; S. J. Perelman: An Annotated Bibliography (1985) and S. J. Perelman: A Critical Study (1987) by S. Gale.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies


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