Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Death: 7th June 1967
Location: Memorial Garden, NAACP Headquarters, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Cause of death: Heart Attack
Photos taken by: Stunt Cat
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American poet, journalist and satirist, best known for her sharp wit. Born Dorothy Rothschild in New Jersey, her mother died shortly before Dorothy turned five. Her father remarried, but Parker detested her father and stepmother, accusing her father of being physically abusive and referring to her stepmother as ‘the housekepper’. 
Despite having a Jewish father and Protestant stepmother she attended a Roman Catholic elementary school, but was asked to leave after referring to Christ’s conception as ‘spontaneous combustion’. 
She sold her first poem in 1914 to Vanity Fair magazine and some months later she was hired as an editorial assistant for Vogue. She met and married Wall Street stock broker Edwin Pond Parker II in 1917. 
Her career took off whilst she was writing theatre criticism for Vanity Fair as a stand-in whilst P.G. Wodehouse was on holiday. Her caustic wit initially proved popular, but she was terminated by Vanity Fair when her criticisms began to offend powerful producers too often. Her greatest period of productivity and success came in the next 15 years. In the 1920s alone she published some 300 poems and free verses in Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New Yorker
She eventually separated from her husband and the couple divorced in 1928. In 1934, she married Alan Campbell, an actor with aspirations of being a screenwriter. The pair moved to Hollywood and worked on more than 15 films. With Robert Carson and Campbell, she wrote the script for the 1937 film A Star Is Born, for which they were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing - Screenplay. She received another Oscar nomination, with Frank Cavett, for 1947's Smash-Up. Parker's final screenplay was The Fan, a 1949 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. Parker was put on the Hollywood blacklist due to her suspected involvement in Communism. 
Her marriage with Campbell was tempestuous, with tensions exacerbated by Parker's increasing alcohol consumption and Alan's long-term affair with a married woman. They divorced in 1947, then remarried in 1950, and remained married until Campbell committed suicide in 1963. 
Parker died of a heart attack at the age of 73. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. foundation. Following King's death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP. Her ashes remained unclaimed in various places, including her attorney’s filing cabinet, for approximately 17 years. In 1988, the NAACP claimed Parker's remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside their Baltimore headquarters. The plaque reads:

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, 'Excuse my dust'. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people. Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 28, 1988.