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Overview (3)

Born in Marion, Indiana, USA
Died in Taftsville, Vermont, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameJoel Grover Sayre Jr.

Mini Bio (1)

Joel Grover Sayre Jr. was born on 13 December, 1901, at Marion, Indiana, the son of Joel Grover Sayre Sr. and his wife, the former Nora Clemens. Sayre grew up in Columbus, Ohio, where his father operated a business that manufactured window glass and his mother worked as a photographer and interior decorator. One of Sayre's boyhood chums in Columbus was Charles and Mary Thurber's middle son, James Thurber.

After being refused entrance into US Army, sixteen year old Sayre was able to enlist in the Canadian Army with the use of a falsified birth certificate and soon found himself serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in Siberia. After the war he attended Oxford University, where he earned a degree in English literature and briefly studied medicine at Heidelberg Medical School.

Sayre started his journalism career as police beat reporter on the Columbus Journal. Later he worked as a sports columnist for The Boston Herald, before becoming a crime reporter for the New York World and the New York Herald Tribune. During this period he wrote numerous articles about the infamous gangster, John Thomas "Legs" Diamond.

Later Sayre became successful contributing short stories to the New Yorker magazine. His first two novels, "Rackety Rax" (1932) and "Hizzoner the Mayor," (1933), satirical tales of corruption in college football and big city politics, were also well received. Soon Hollywood called and Sayre, now a screenwriter, found himself working on such future film classics as Annie Oakley (1935), The Road to Glory (1936) (in collaboration with, William Faulkner) and Gunga Din (1939). Sayre's popular short story, "The Man on the Ledge" that appeared in the New Yorker, was later made into the film Fourteen Hours (1951). While working in California, a Hollywood reporter once described Sayre as "a wandering behemoth".

As a war correspondent during World War II, Sayre covered the Persian Gulf Command for the New Yorker, and was present at the historic Teheran Conference of 1943. Later his war reports that appeared in the New Yorker were reproduced in his 1945 book "Persian Gulf Command; Some Marvels on the Road to Kazvin" (Preface by James Thurber). As the war in Europe began to wind down Sayre was sent to Germany to cover the final days of the conflict. "The House Without a Roof," (1948), his book about a Jewish family living under Nazi Germany, arose from his experiences there.

After the war, Sayre continued to write for magazines. Later, after a brief period as a staff writer for Time magazine, he returned to screenwriting and began to travel the globe. In 1960 he accepted a teaching position at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Sayre retired from teaching in 1971 and relocated to Virginia. Joel Grover Sayre died on September 9, 1979, a year after he had moved to Taftsville, Vermont to be with Jeanette Lowe, a life-long friend. He was survived by his daughter, journalist, author and film critic Nora Sayre (1932-2001). Sayre's wife, the former Gertrude Lynahan, died on 2 August, 1960, at the age of 59 in New York City. She had worked as an investigative reporter, newspaper editor and during World War Two, as an aid to Nelson Rockefeller, when he was Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John F. Barlow

Spouse (1)

Gertrude Lynahan (1930 - 1960) (her death)

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