Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Robert Benchley

September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945

Today is the birthday of one of my very favorite humorists, Robert Benchley. He was born 120 years ago today in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is one of those rare people whose looks, voice, and work combine in the most perfect of ways. I simply adore him. You may read lots and lots of information about him here. Both his son, Nathaniel, and his grandson, Peter, were writers. Like Robert, they each died young.

As well as being a writer, he was also a movie star! Turner Classic Movies is featuring a few of the films today in celebration of the great man. He was in full length feature films, and in delightful, hilarious little short films. Here is an example if you haven't yet made his acquaintance.


  1. Thank you, Pamela! I'm so glad someone knows who he is, and loves him, too.

  2. So odd that you've found this funny man, who was a figure in the Algonquin Round Table and went on to Hollywood to write and appear in movies. I like to watch him and love to read him and read about him too.

    I don't know why I'm surprised that he's one of your favorites--he belonged to such a different era. I suspect that in your heart, even with your celebrations of the 60's and your taste for rock and roll, you belong there too.

  3. Mary Lois, I love what you wrote. I have always half-lived in other times; not just the time of the Algonquin folks, but the whole early 20th century. I do have a 'taste' for r&r, but honestly my favorites are the old standards, sung by the original artists, or the new ones. I get lost in the words and music. And now, about the Algonquin. You probably know this, but there are walking tours:


    If I were closer, we could go together and wouldn't we have the best time!!!

  4. I just watched Robert Benchley in a movie I recorded off of Turner Classic Movies called "Janie." He was very funny and good in that one. If I recall, he was also in "The Major and the Minor" starring Ginger Rogers (you can also catch that one on TCM from time to time), and he was very good in that, as well.

    So interesting you'd have a post on him. I love him as a character actor in old classic films -- just as I love the old films from the '30's and 40's.

  5. Jill, by the time I saw that Janie was on TCM, it was too late to watch, but I saw a great preview, and I'm sure it will show up again sometime. Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and tell me. We just recently added TCM to our dish network package - the reason was so we could watch Mad Men on AMC, and Turner was the bonus that came along with it - as did IFC. Lotsa movies to watch now!


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