A leading playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and director,
Morrie Ryskind collaborated on a number of the most celebrated Broadway shows
and films of the 1920s and ’30s. With George S. Kaufman he co-wrote the
librettos for the stage version of Animal Crackers (1928) then wrote the
screenplays for four Marx Brothers films: Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers
(1930), A Night at the Opera (1935) and Room Service (1938). Also with Mr.
Kaufman, he co-authored the librettos for the Gershwin musicals Of Thee I Sing!
(1932 Pulitzer Prize) and Let ’Em Eat Cake (1934). Later that decade, he
received Academy Award nominations for his screenplays for My Man Godfrey
(1936) and Stage Door (1939). His Broadway credits also included the librettos
for Strike Up the Band (1930, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin)
and Louisiana Purchase (1941, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin). During the
1940s and ’50s Mr. Ryskind became a political columnist for the Los Angeles