Clifford Odets

Waiting for Lefty

Clifford Odets

Biography (excerpt):

Clifford Odets (1906-1963), dramatist, screenwriter and director, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants. Odets grew up in New York's Bronx district, where his father ran a successful printing business. His early life was marked by his mother's emotional distance and his father's belligerence and materialism. He received little formal education, briefly attending New York's Morris High School but leaving before graduation, with the intention of writing poetry. His autocratic father forced Odets to reconsider, with the result that he turned to the theatre, performing in radio programmes and stock companies. Barely subsisting on the pittance such work paid, Odets was frequently despondent, and made several attempts to take his own life. 

In His Own Words: Articles & Correspondence

Clifford Odets Chronology:

Clifford Odets. R. Baird Shuman. Twayne's United States Authors Series 30. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1962. From The Twayne Authors Series.

COPYRIGHT 1962 Twayne Publishers, COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

1906     Clifford Odets born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 18.

1912     Family moves to New York City.

1921-1923     Student in Morris High School, New York City.

1923-1930    Various small acting positions, often in juvenile roles for the Theatre Guild.

1929     Understudy to Spencer Tracy in Broadway production of Conflict.

1930     Joins the Group Theatre.

1935     Wrote and appeared in Waiting for Lefty; it wins George Pierce Baker Drama Cup, Yale University, and New Theatre--New Masses Theatre Contest.  

            Completed Awake and Sing! and Paradise Lostwrote Till the Day I Die. Made protest trip to Cuba.

1936     Wrote I Can't Sleep.

1937     Married Luise Rainer, January 8. Wrote film scenario of The General Died at Dawn. Wrote Golden Boy and Silent Partner.

1938     Wrote Rocket to the Moon.

1939     Publication of Six Plays of Clifford Odets.

1940     Wrote Night Music.

1941     Wrote Clash by Night. Divorced from Luise Rainer.

1942     Wrote film scenario for Humoresque.

1943     Wrote film scenario for None But the Lonely Heart, also directed this film. Married Bette Grayson, May 14.

1944     Wrote scenario for Deadline at Dawn.

1948     Wrote The Big Knife.

1950     Wrote The Country Girl.

1954     Wrote The Flowering Peach. Bette Grayson Odets dies.

1959     Directed The Story on Page One.

1961     Received Drama Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Source Citation: "Chronology." Clifford Odets. R. Baird Shuman. Twayne's United States Authors Series 30. New York: Twayne

Publishers, 1962. Literature Resources from Gale. Gale. Los Angeles Public Library. 10 Nov. 2009 <


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