Guess Who #38
There are a few people, and not too many I think, about who I always find myself saying, “Someday I’m going to learn more about this guy.” This is certainly true about today’s Mr. X, and has been for quite a few years. I’m sorry to say that while I have made a little progress towards that end, I still have a long way to go.
For most of my life I recognized his name, but knew little else about him. Oh, I knew he had something to do with the movies, but that’s as far as my knowledge of him went. Still, there was a part of me that just knew that this person was in some way important, especially for anyone who considers himself a student, or even just a fan, of film.
Over the weekend I saw that one of his movies was coming on, and so I decided to watch it. It was strange, I thought, that I approached it as half entertainment and half, well, homework. I was only a few minutes into the movie when I realized I had seen it before. This made me feel pretty good, as if, in my slow and plodding way, I actually had made some progress towards my goal of familiarizing myself with the work of Mr. X.
And that’s enough of that. After all, what sort of quiz would this be if I told you the man’s entire life story before I even gave you the first clue?
Mr. X was born in 1898.
Mr. X was the first person to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Mr. X was married four times.
Mr. X’s last name at birth was Biden.
Mr. X was born in Chicago.
Mr. X served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps in World War I.
Mr. X sold his Academy Award-winning screenplay for $1.00, in exchange for being allowed to direct the movie.
Mr. X wrote the play Strictly Dishonorable in six days. It ran on Broadway for 16 months.
Mr. X wrote his greatest comedies form 1939 – 1943. Four of them are on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Funniest American Films.
Mr. X invented a kiss-proof lipstick in 1920 called Red-Red Rouge.
Mr. X was once the third highest paid man in America.
Mr. X signed a deal in 1944 making him one of only two writer-producer-directors in Hollywood. (The other was Charlie Chaplin.)
Mr. X did not start writing until he was 30 years old.
Mr. X died at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City at the age of 60.
Mr. X died while working on his memoir, which was titled, The Events Leading Up to My Death.
I think that’s all the clues you need. Who is Mr. X?