Jean Anouilh was born on June 23, 1910, in France. Anouilh studied law as a teenager and worked briefly in advertising. He soon became aware of his strong attraction to the theatre and became one of France's foremost playwrights and screenwriters. Anouilh's works are noted for their theatrical conventions. His plays, many of which are bleak dramas, feature characters facing highly moral dilemmas. He uses such conventions as flashbacks, role reversals, and play-within-a-play to achieve dramatic effects. Anouilh received a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for his play Waltz of the Toreadors and a Tony award for Thieves Carnival. Other well-known works include Antigone, Eurydice and the film Pattes Blanches. Anouilh suffered a heart attack and died in 1987.
Playwright Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans in 1905. After studying at New York and Columbia Universities, Hellman worked in publishing and as a book reviewer and play-reader. In 1934, Hellman had her first success as a playwright with The Children's Hour. In the play, Hellman mixed social, political, and moral issues along with more personal ones. Among some of Hellman's other successful plays are The Little Foxes, Watch on the Rhine, The Searching Wind, and Toys in the Attic. Hellman was also a screenwriter who wrote many film scripts and adapted the works of other authors for film and the stage. Hellman's memoirs include An Unfinished Woman and Pentimento. For more than 30 years Hellman had a relationship with "hard-boiled" detective writer Dashiell Hammett. She lived with him until his death in 1961, and shared his commitment to radical political causes. Hellman's appearance before Senator Joseph McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952 resulted in her being blacklisted in Hollywood. Her book, Scoundrel Time, explores her experiences during the McCarthy era. Nearly blind and confined to a wheelchair, Lillian Hellman died of cardiac arrest in 1984.