Robert Emmet Sherwood (4 April 1896–14 November 1955) American playwright, editor, and screenwriter.
Born in New Rochelle, New York, he was the son of the prominent American portrait artist Rosina Emmet Sherwood. He was the great-great-grandson of the former New York State Attorney General Thomas Addis Emmet and the great-great-nephew of the notable Irish nationalist Robert Emmet who was executed for high treason in an abortive rebellion attempt against the British. His aunts included the notable American portrait artists Lydia Field Emmet, Jane Emmet de Glehn and his second cousin was artist Ellen Emmet Rand.
Learn more about Robert E. Sherwood and his work, free from the Internet Movie Data Base. Robert Emmet Sherwood was educated at Harvard University, Sherwood fought with the Canadian Black Watch in Europe during World War I and was wounded. After his return to the U.S., he began working as a movie critic for such magazines as Life and Vanity Fair.
Sherwood was one of the original members of the Algonquin Round Table. He was close friends with Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, who were on the staff of Vanity Fair with Sherwood when the Round Table began meeting in 1919. Author Edna Ferber was also a good friend.
At six-feet six-inches, Sherwood was a giant for a man of his day. Dorothy Parker, who was five-feet four-inches, once commented that when she, Sherwood, and Robert Benchley (who was six feet tall) would walk down the street together, they looked like "a walking pipe organ." When asked at a party how long he had known Sherwood, Robert Benchley stood on a chair, raised his hand to the ceiling, and said, "I knew Bob Sherwood back when he was only this tall."
Sherwood's first play, The Road to Rome in 1927 was greeted with success. The play is a comedy concerning Hannibal's botched invasion of Rome. One of the underlying themes of this work is the stupidity of war. This is a recurrent motif in many of his dramatic works including his Idiot's Delight of 1936 which won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes.
In addition to his work for the stage, Sherwood also was in demand in Hollywood. He began writing for the silver screen in 1926. While some of his work is uncredited, his films include many adaptations of his plays.
With Europe in the midst of World War II, Sherwood changed his anti-war stance and supported American involvement against the Third Reich. His 1940 play, There Shall Be No Night told the story of the Russian invasion of Finland. His patriotism led him to work as a speechwriter for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He recounted this period with his book Roosevelt and Hopkins which won a Pulitzer Prize and a Bancroft Prize in 1949.
Sherwood also served for a time as Director of the Office of War Information. He returned to playwrighting after the war and produced his memorable script for the film The Best Years of Our Lives which was directed by William Wyler. The 1946 film explores how the lives of three servicemen have been changed after they return home from war. For this film, Sherwood was given an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Sherwood died of a heart attack in New York City in 1955.