Irish-born playwright George Bernard Shaw lived till an overripe old age of 96 – representative of how prolific – and determined – this dramatist, playwright, critic and compulsive letter-writer really was. His canon of over sixty plays includes “Man and Superman” (1902),”Pygmalion” (1912) (which was the basis of “My Fair Lady”) and “Saint Joan” (1923), among others. His major influence was Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (“A Doll’s House”), in terms of realism: including political, religious and social polemic – both rebels in their own time. Contentious and curmudgeonly as Shaw was known to be, he got the Nobel Prize in literature in 1925. He also got an Oscar in 1938 – having written the screenplay for a movie versions of “Pygmalion.” How many writers can claim a Nobel and an Oscar? Or write a quarter of a million letters – longhand??? Imagine what Shaw could have accomplished on a MacBook Air! Even in longhand, George Bernard Show managed to become one of the best known not just playwrights in the world – but writer, politico, and philosopher, overall. One of his greatest sayings: “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.”
Also having died on this day in history: American humorist writer James Thurber (1961 – he only made it to 66), and philanthropist Simon Guggenheim, for whom the Guggenheim Museum was named (1941, at 73 years of age).