Sturges, Preston (1898-1959)

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Sturges, Preston (1898-1959)

After a childhood abroad, a stint in the army, and a turn as an inventor creating kiss-proof lipstick, in 1929 Chicago native Preston Sturges staged his first Broadway play. From that nearly accidental debut, he fashioned a career in Hollywood's "Golden Age" that film critic Andrew Sarris calls "one of the most brilliant and bizarre bursts of creation in the history of the American cinema." Hired as a writer in 1932, by 1940 Sturges became the first screenplay author to direct his own script when he penned and directed Christmas in July, Remember the Night, and Academy Award winner, The Great McGinty. By 1944 he had secured his lasting legacy with signature romantic comedies: The Lady Eve and Sullivan's Travels (both 1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944). Sturges was hailed for his brilliance in studio publicity and for his movies' eccentric, visionary critiques of American society.

—Elizabeth Haas

Further Reading:

Harvey, James. Romantic Comedy in Hollywood from Lubitsch to Sturges. New York, A.A. Knopf, 1987.

Jacobs, Diane. Christmas in July: The Life and Art of Preston Sturges. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1992.

Rozgonyi, Jay. Preston Sturges's Vision of America: Critical Analyses of Fourteen Films. Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland, 1995.

Sturges, Preston. Preston Sturges. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1990.