Woollcott, Alexander, 1887-1943

Alternative names
Birth 1887-01-19
Death 1943-01-23

Biographical notes:

Woollcott, American critic, member of the Algonquin Round Table, and the inspiration for the character of Sheridan Whiteside in the play The Man Who Came to Dinner by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

From the description of [Letters, 1929-1940] / Alexander Woollcott. (Smith College). WorldCat record id: 491398373

American drama critic, journalist, playwright, essayist, and actor.

From the description of Alexander Woollcott collection, 1921-[194-]. (Boston University). WorldCat record id: 70969750

Epithet: critic

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001305.0x0003ad

Alexander Humphreys Woollcott became famous in American literary and drama circles as an author, critic, and actor. Woollcott worked for several influential New York magazines and newspapers as well as radio. Woollcott wrote several novels and portrayed himself in Kaufman and Hart's "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (1940), a play based on Woollcott himself.

From the description of Letter, undated. (Iowa State University). WorldCat record id: 764633625

Alexander Woolcott (1887-1943), the famous theater critic and star of national radio in the early 20th century, became even more noted after a play was written specifically for and about him by his good friends, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. In "The Man Who Came to Dinner", Sheridan Whiteside, a radio star and writer, insults people and meddles in their love lives. Monty Woolley, a former Yale drama Professor, play Whiteside on Braodway and in the movie version (with Bette Davis). Clifton Webb and Alexander Woollcott played the touring companies. More recently Nathan Lane played the role of Sheridan Whiteside on Broadway. With the help of a family friend, Woollcott attended Hamilton College in upstate New York and graduated in 1909. Woollcott got a job as a reporter for The New York Times covering the sinking of the Titanic. He then got he post he truly coveted: drama critic. He remained with the Times until 1922 when he moved to The New York World and continued as art critic until 1928. It was as a critic that Woollcott drew the public's attention. Anyone who described a play as leaving "a taste of lukewarm parsnip juice," or an actor as "scruplously artificial and ever glacial" would attract notice-as Woollcott did. He became a founding memeber of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of individuals who met regularly for lunch at the Hotel Algonquin in Manhattan. They included Irving Berlin, Harpo Marx, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker and Edna Ferber.

From the description of The Letters of Alexander Woolcott, 193?-194? (Brooklyn College). WorldCat record id: 471475328

Author, actor, drama critic, and commentator.

From the description of Photograph albums, [ca. 1930-1940]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155508245

New York dramatic and literary critic.

From the description of Typed letter signed : Lake Bomoseen, Vt., to Stark Young, 1934 Aug. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270875027

American journalist and writer.

From the description of Typed letter signed to Carroll McComas, 1938 Jan. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122448647

Journalist and author.

From the description of Alexander Woollcott correspondence, 1925-1968. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981411

American author, drama critic and radio commentator.

From the description of Papers of Alexander Woollcott, 1924-1939. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 32136589

Woollcott was an American author, theatrical actor, drama critic for The New York Times, and a radio commentator, known as "The Town Crier."

From the description of Correspondence, ca.1856-1943 (inclusive), 1920-1943 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 82211106

From the guide to the Alexander Woollcott correspondence, ca. 1856-1943 (inclusive), 1920-1943 (bulk)., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)


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  • Criticism
  • Motion picture industry--United States
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Drama (American)
  • Radio broadcasting--United States
  • Radio broadcasting--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945--Public opinion
  • Performing Arts
  • American literature--20th century
  • Neutrality
  • Authors
  • American drama--20th century
  • Journalism
  • Book reviewing
  • Dramatic criticism
  • Christmas--Anecdotes, facetiae, satire, etc
  • Theater
  • Theater critics
  • Theater--20th century


  • Critics--United States
  • Theater critics--United States
  • Dramatists--United States
  • Journalists--United States
  • Actors
  • Radio broadcasters
  • Authors
  • Journalists


  • England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)