Next week marks what would have been the 116th birthday of the director, playwright and screenwriter Preston Sturges (August 29, 1898-August 6, 1959). Born in Chicago as Edmund Preston Biden, Sturges began a life in the theater at a young age when he traveled with his eccentric actress mother to Europe to work with Isadora Duncan.
Later, as an adult living in New York, Sturges tried his hand at playwriting. He successfully established himself on Broadway with Strictly Dishonorable. Having caught the attention of folks in Hollywood, he sold the screen rights and a few years later made the move to California.
He had a string of writing and directing successes. In 1941 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Great McGinty. Sturges took the screwball comedy to a new level and his work has been described as "socially conscious comedies [that] are considered best of the genre." Enjoy a night of laughs thanks to one of these great films from the collection at the Chicago Public Library.