Sally Benson

Sally Benson

Birthday: 3 September 1897, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Birth Name: Sara Mahala Redway Smith
Sally Benson was born in St. Louis on September 3 1897. Her family moved to New York, where she spent her formative years and was educated at the Horace Mann School. At the age of seventeen, she took her first job working at the National City Bank, 'singing into a dictaphone', as she later put it. Several years and a divorce later, she be... Show more »
Sally Benson was born in St. Louis on September 3 1897. Her family moved to New York, where she spent her formative years and was educated at the Horace Mann School. At the age of seventeen, she took her first job working at the National City Bank, 'singing into a dictaphone', as she later put it. Several years and a divorce later, she began to write magazine reviews and published interviews with the rich and famous. Her writing career thus launched, she submitted a short story to The New Yorker in 1930 (under the pen name Esther Evarts), which led to requests for more from the editors. Her most popular subsequent work consisted of a series of stories about Judy Graves, a gauche adolescent heroine, which appeared under the title "Junior Miss". The stories were collated in a 1941 Book of the Month and then adapted into a comedy play on Broadway, by writers Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields. A movie version in 1945 was followed by a TV musical and a radio series.Benson's most famous work was Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), originally derived from a series of nostalgic vignettes about the life of a St. Louis family (incorporating recollections from her own life) spanning the years from 1903 to 1904. They were published in The New Yorker under the title 5135 Kensington Avenue, the street of her birth and early childhood. For the MGM film version of 1944, Benson was tasked with working on the screenplay. However, her material ended up on the cutting room floor and she ended up being credited only as original author. Some of her other contributions fared rather better, notably her collaborative efforts on Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Shadow of a Doubt (1943), the romantic drama Anna and the King of Siam (1946), and the film noir No Man of Her Own (1950). Benson also adapted the novel "Seventeen" by Booth Tarkington into a successful Broadway play.In her private life, Benson enjoyed reading, playing harp and piano, and visiting the racetrack. She died in July 1972 at the age of 74. Show less «