Woollcott, Alexander

Woollcott, Alexander, 1887–1943, American author and critic, b. Phalanx, N.J., grad. Hamilton College, 1909. Woollcott's flamboyant personality combined sharpness of wit with sentimentality. He was one of the best-known journalists of his time and exerted great influence on popular literary and theatrical tastes. From 1914 to 1922 he was drama critic for the New York Times and later, from 1925 to 1928, for the New York World. He also had a weekly radio show, the “Town Crier” (1929–42). His gossipy essays were collected in While Rome Burns (1934), Long Long Ago (1943), and others. Woollcott was the model for Sheridan Whiteside, the central character in The Man Who Came to Dinner, a play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart; he portrayed Whiteside in a road company production of the play.

See his letters (1944); biography by E. P. Hoyt (rev. ed. 1973).

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