Owen Davis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Owen Davis
Owen-Davis-1950.jpg
Owen Davis in 1950
Born Owen Gould Davis
(1874-01-29)January 29, 1874
Portland, Maine, U.S.
Died October 14, 1956(1956-10-14) (aged 82)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Pen name John Oliver
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University
Spouse Elizabeth Breyer
Children Owen Davis, Jr.
Donald Davis
Information
Magnum opus Icebound
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1923)

Owen Gould Davis (January 29, 1874 – October 14, 1956) was an American dramatist. In 1919, he became the first elected president of the Dramatists Guild of America. He received the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 1923 play Icebound,[1] and penned hundreds of plays and scripts for radio and film. Before the First World War, he also wrote racy sketches of New York high jinks and low life for the Police Gazette under the name of Ike Swift. Many of these were set in the Tenderloin, Manhattan. Davis also wrote under several other pseudonyms, including Martin Hurley, Arthur J. Lamb, Walter Lawrence, John Oliver, and Robert Wayne.[2]

Personal life

Davis was born in Portland, Maine,[3] and lived in Bangor until he was 15. His parents were iron manufacturer Owen Warren Davis and Abigail Augusta Gould.[4]

He was the father of actor Owen Davis, Jr., and playwright Donald Davis. His brother William Hammatt Davis was chairman of the National War Labor Board in Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. Davis died in New York City.

As a boy, Owen Davis wrote plays for his eight brothers and sisters, who performed them for the town.

He attended the University of Tennessee in 1888-1889 and then transferred to Harvard University in 1890, spending three years there. At Harvard, he was active with the Society of Arts drama organization. For a time, he coached a New York preparatory school's football team.[5]

He married Elizabeth Drury Breyer, an actress, in 1901 or 1902, and they had two sons.[4]

Career

For the first two decades of his writing career, Davis produced melodramas that followed a formula. His entry in the Encyclopedia of American Drama, edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Mary C. Hartig, noted, "The plays all contain life-threatening, visually exciting predicaments out of which the good emerge at the ultimate expense of the villains who put them there."[6]

Stage

In 1897, Through the Breakers, Davis's first play, opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It ran for three years.[3] His first Broadway play was Reaping the Whirlwind, which opened on September 17, 1900. The Internet Broadway Database lists 75 additional productions that were written by him, either under his own name or as John Oliver, or in which he was involved in some way.[7]

Film

Davis was on the staff of Paramount Pictures as a screenwriter from 1927 to 1930. His work during that time included They Had to See Paris (1929) and So This Is London (1930), both of which starred Will Rogers.[3]

Radio

Davis wrote scripts for the old-time radio program The Gibson Family, which presented each episode in the form of a Broadway musical. [8]

Books

Davis wrote two autobiographies, I'd Like to Do It Again, which was published in 1931,[9] and My First Fifty Years in the Theatre, which focused on the years 1897-1947.[3]

Death

On October 13, 1956, Davis died in New York City at age 82. He had recently been released from a hospital after a three-year stay. He was survived by his wife, their son, a brother, and a sister.[10]

Bibliography

References

  1. ^ "1923 Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prizes. Archived from the original on June 19, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  2. ^ Bryer, Jackson R.; Hartig, Mary C., eds. (2010). The Facts on File Companion to American Drama (2nd ed.). New York: Facts on File. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-0-8160-7748-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d Roberts, Jerry (2003). The Great American Playwrights on the Screen: A Critical Guide to Film, Video, and DVD. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 129. ISBN 9781557835123. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  4. ^ a b McNamara, Brooks. "Davis, Owen Gould". American National Biography. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  5. ^ Fischer, Heinz Dietrich; Fischer, Erika J. (2002). Complete Biographical Encyclopedia of Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1917-2000: Journalists, Writers and Composers on Their Ways to the Coveted Awards. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 53–54. ISBN 9783598301865. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  6. ^ Bryer, Jackson R.; Hartig, Mary C. (2015). Encyclopedia of American Drama. Infobase Learning. ISBN 9781438140766. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  7. ^ "Owen Davis". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  8. ^ Ellett, Ryan (2017). Radio Drama and Comedy Writers, 1928-1962. McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 9781476665931. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  9. ^ Bryer, Jackson R.; Hartig, Mary C. (2010). The Facts on File Companion to American Drama. Infobase Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 9781438129662. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  10. ^ "Owen Davis, Playwright, Dies in N.Y." Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. October 15, 1956. p. 77. Retrieved January 19, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read

Further reading

  • Staff writers (April 15, 1992). "Donald Davis Is Dead; Playwright Was 88". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  • Webster's Biographical Dictionary (First ed.). Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Co. 1980. 

External links

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Owen_Davis&oldid=848090966"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owen_Davis
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Owen Davis"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA