Murfin, Jane (1893–1955)

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Murfin, Jane (1893–1955)

American playwright and screenwriter. Born in 1893 in Quincy, Michigan; died in 1955; married Donald Crisp (an actor and director), in 1932 (divorced 1944).

Selected filmography:

Daybreak (co-play basis only, 1918); The Amateur Wife (1920); The Silent Call (1921); Brawn of the North (co-writer and co-producer, 1922); Flapper Wives (also co-director, 1924); White Fang (1925); A Slave to Fashion (1925); The Savage (1926); Meet the Prince (1926); Notorious Lady (1927); Love Master (1927); Street Girl (1929); Half Marriage (1929); Leathernecking (1930); Friends and Lovers (1931); Too Many Crooks (1931); What Price Hollywood? (1932); Young Bride (1932); The Silver Cord (1933); Ann Vickers (1933); Double Harness (1933); This Man Is Mine (1934); Spitfire (1934); The Little Minister (1934); Alice Adams (co-writer, 1935); Roberta (1935); Come and Get It (1936); I'll Take Romance (1936); The Shining Hour (1938); The Women (1939); Stand Up and Fight (1939); Pride and Prejudice (1940); Smilin' Through (co-play only, 1941); Flight for Freedom (1943); Dragon Seed (1944).

Jane Murfin began as a playwright who, with her friend Jane Cowl , wrote the hugely successful Broadway play Smilin' Through (1919), in which Cowl also starred. The play would be adapted for the screen three times, starring Norma Talmadge in 1922, Norma Shearer and Fredric March ten years later, and Jeanette Mac-Donald and Gene Raymond in 1941. Murfin herself was soon a successful screenwriter in Hollywood, and in 1934 also became the first female supervisor at RKO studios. Murfin wrote the script for 1932's What Price Hollywood?, the original version of the story that later became A Star is Born. She also co-wrote (with Dorothy Yost and Mortimer Offner) the film adaptation of Booth Tarkington's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Alice Adams (1935), which starred Katharine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray. Her series of "Strongheart" scripts, starring her pet German shepherd, debuted in 1922, preceding the "Rin Tin Tin" series by two years.


Acker, Ally. Reel Women: Pioneers of the Cinema 1896 to the Present. NY: Continuum, 1991.

Ellen Dennis French , freelance writer, Murrieta, California

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