Sunday, July 11, 2010

William F. McDermott

William F. McDermott
(Feb. 17, 1891 - Nov. 16, 1958)
Born in Indiana, attended Butler College, McDermott came to Cleveland in 1921 to become drama critic for The Plain Dealer. In addition to writing theater reviews for the Cleveland and New York stages, and making travels to Europe to interview literary luminaries, he also wrote columns on various issues of the day.

The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History notes that he wrote against censorship in the 1950s, I'd like to know more about that. Much has been made of a certain doting actress restaging an entire production from the Hanna in his living room in Bratenahl when he was too ill to make it to the theater.

What McDermott and I disagree on - the value of federally funded theater. What we agree on - the brilliance of Tennessee Williams.

According to Dennis McDougal the young Louis Wasserman worked to ascend the rungs of Cleveland nightlife by plying local journalists with liquor ("buying them drinks, partying with them at the Alcazar Hotel, escorting them home") and occasionally writing their items for them when they got too loaded. The list of theater critics Wasserman claims to have ghosted for is all-inclusive, including Mr. McDermott.

The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood
The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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