- (1878-1950)Born in Cleveland, Arthur Mel-ancthon Hopkins worked as a newspaper reporter covering President William McKinley's assassination before becoming a vaudeville press agent doing publicity for Vernon and Irene Castle. His first Broadway producing effort, Poor Little Rich Girl (1913), was successful and he followed it with Elmer Rice's first important play, On Trial (1914), coproduced by George M. Cohan and Sam H. Harris, and Good Gracious Annabelle (1916), A Successful Calamity (1917), and Redemption (1918) starring John Barrymore. Hopkins produced two Shakespearean productions, Richard III (1920) and Hamlet (1922), for Barrymore, who won great acclaim in both roles.Hopkins also produced The Jest (1919) for Barrymore and his brother, Lionel Barrymore, which critics praised, but when Hopkins presented Lionel in Macbeth (1921), it was a failure. These productions and a series of Henrik Ibsen's plays starring Alla Na-zimova enhanced Hopkins's prestige. When he directed Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer PRizE-winning Anna Christie (1921), as well as O'Neill's The Hairy Ape (1922), he began a decade of producing and/or directing many of the most important plays of the era, including Laurence Stallings and Maxwell Anderson's What Price Glory (1924), two Philip Barry plays, Paris Bound (1927) and Holiday (1928), Burlesque (1927; which he coauthored), Sophie Treadwell's Machinal (1928), and his own play, Conquest (1933), a retelling of Hamlet.Hopkins worked closely with scene designer Robert Edmond Jones for many of these productions and he is credited with discovering Pauline Lord and Katharine Hepburn.* Although Hopkins produced and directed with less frequency after 1930, he was associated with a few more important plays, including Robert E. Sherwood's The Petrified Forest* (1935), which starred Leslie Howard and provided Humphrey Bogart* with his first significant role, and The Magnificent Yankee* (1946). Hopkins believed it was the role of the producer to introduce new talent to the theatre and his polished productions did just that, also providing support to established stars and writers.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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