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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 27 November 1909Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Date of Death 16 May 1955New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameJames Rufus Agee

Mini Bio (1)

James Agee, Pulitzer Prize winning author, was born in Knoxville in 1909. The intense writer was to enjoy little real success in his lifetime, but after death won accolades. In 1958 he won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his uncompleted biographical novel A Death in the Family. Agee also wrote the classic Let Us Now Praise Famous Men with Walker Evans and the Oscar nominated screenplay for The African Queen with John Huston. Agee also appeared in a film and several TV shows while working in Hollywood. He died in 1955, only 45 years old, of a heart attack in NYC.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: <slopez@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu>

Spouse (3)

Mia Fritsch (1946 - 16 May 1955) (his death) (3 children)
Alma Mailman (1938 - 1941) (divorced) (1 child)
Olivia Saunders (28 January 1933 - 1938) (divorced)

Trivia (9)

Posthumous Pulitzer Prize, 1958.
Once hung calmly out a 52nd-story window in New York City's Chrysler Building.
Engineered tryst between his best friend and second wife.
Loved the films of Charles Chaplin, and championed some of Chaplin's then-underappreciated work.
He was buried on his farm in Hillsdale, New York, USA.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 131, pages 7-11. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 1005.
He was also a film critic, and wrote for several magazines, including "Time". He sometimes reviewed the same film for more than one of those magazines, writing a completely new review each time rather than simply re-publishing the same one. His evolving opinions on these films can be gathered from these reviews. Among his most famous are the several he wrote for Laurence Olivier's film version of Henry V (1944) before and after the British film opened in the U.S. in 1946, and the several he wrote championing Charles Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux (1947), which was then receiving a very hostile reaction from audiences, who had no desire to see Chaplin playing a wife-murderer.
Once lived at 172 Bleecker Street (between MacDougal & Avenue of the Americas) in Manhattan's Greenwich Village district during the 1940s and 1950s.
He never lived to see "The Night Of The Hunter" (1955), the film of perhaps his best screenplay. He died in the back of a New York taxi some four months before its opening. After his death, the director of the film, Charles Laughton, sent his widow a telegram simply saying, "I loved him".

Personal Quotes (11)

All over Alabama the lamps are out--Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
A streetcar raising its iron moan; stopping, belling and starting; stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan and swimming its gold windows and straw seats on past and past and past, the bleak spark crackling and cursing above it like a small malignant spirit set to dog its tracks; the iron whine rises on rising speed; still risen, faints, halts, the faint stinging bell; rises again, still fainter, fainting, lifting, lifts, faints forgone: forgotten. Now is that night one blue dew.
[on Lauren Bacall] She has a javelin-like vitality, a born dancer's eloquence in movement, a fierce female shrewdness and a special sweet sourness. With these faculties, plus a stone-crushing self-confidence and a trombone voice, she manages to get across the toughest girl a piously regenerate Hollywood had dreamed of in a long, long while.
[on Judy Garland] How good she is! She is no Venus, let us admit -- but how delightful is her smile, how genuine her emotion, how sure her timing, and how brilliantly she brings off her effects.
[on D.W. Griffith] There is not a man working in movies, nor a man who cares for them, who does not owe Griffith more than he owes anyone else.
[on Preston Sturges] Preston is like a man from the Italian Renaissance -- he wants to do everything at once.
[on Gracie Fields] I think Miss Fields is about as nice a woman over forty as I have ever seen; I have certainly never seen anyone in movies to approach her in that age bracket.
[on John Huston]: A natural-born anti-authoritarian individualistic libertarian anarchist, without portfolio.
[reviewing "Give My Regards To Broadway", 1948]: Vaudeville is dead; I wish to God someone would bury it.
[reviewing "The Iron Curtain", 1948]: If it could be proved that there is any nation on earth which does not employ spies, that would be news. This is just the same old toothless dog biting the same old legless man.
[reviewing "Tycoon", 1948]: Several tons of dynamite are set off in this movie, none of it under the right people.

Salary (1)

The Night of the Hunter (1955) $30,000

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