Kaufman, George S. (kôfˈmən) [key], 1889–1961, American dramatist and journalist, b. Pittsburgh as George Kaufman. As a drama critic for various New York newspapers he was influential in raising the standards of criticism in the theater. He collaborated on more than 40 plays, many of them tremendously successful, which varied in mood from the rowdy farces of his early days to his later more sophisticated comedies. His collaboration with Marc Connelly produced such plays as Merton of the Movies (1922) and Beggar on Horseback (1924) and was followed by collaborations with Ring Lardner— June Moon (1929)—and Edna Ferber— The Royal Family (1927), Dinner at Eight (1932), and Stage Door (1936). In 1932, Kaufman won the Pulitzer Prize for the musical Of Thee I Sing (1931), written with Morrie Ryskind, to a score by George Gershwin. Some of his most famous plays, containing some of his best wisecracking wit, were done in collaboration with Moss Hart, notably Once in a Lifetime (1930), Merrily We Roll Along (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1936; Pulitzer Prize), and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939). Among his later works are The Late George Apley (with J. P. Marquand, 1944) and The Solid Gold Cadillac (with Howard Teichmann, 1954). Kaufman directed several successful plays including The Front Page (1928), My Sister Eileen (1940), and Guys and Dolls (1950).
See Kaufman & Co.: Broadway Comedies (2004); biographies by S. Meredith (1974) and R. G. Pollack (1988).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.