Ethel Hill
BornApril 6, 1898
Sacramento, California, USA
DiedMay 17, 1954
Hollywood, California, USA

Ethel Hill (1898–1954) was an American screenwriter and race horse owner.[1][2][3] One of her best-known scripts is for The Little Princess (1939), starring Shirley Temple.

Early life

Ethel was born in Sacramento, California, the eldest daughter of Charles Hill and Susie Marston. The family moved to Los Angeles when Ethel was young, and she and her younger sister Garna attended high school in Santa Monica.



When Dore Schary first went to work for Columbia Pictures as a new screenwriter, he was paired with the veteran Hill to learn from her; together, they wrote the screenplay for Fury of the Jungle (1933).[4] Hill was described by Marc Norman in his book What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting as "an extremely dear and generous woman [who] had an interest in horses and often wore jodhpurs and riding gear to the studio."[4] Fellow screenwriter Gertrude Walker—who worked with Hill toward the end of her career at Republic Pictures—described her as "a sweet old lady" who always wore a shawl and bedroom slippers.[5]

Horse racing

Hill bought the Thoroughbred race horse War Knight, a son of Preakness winner High Quest, as a foal "with her $1500 life savings".[6] He went on to win 10 of 28 starts,[6] including the 1944 Arlington Handicap.[2] He was injured in 1945 and did not win any of his five 1946 starts[6] leading up to the $100,000 added Santa Anita Handicap, which he proceeded to win in a photo finish.[1][3] He retired to stud afterward.[6]

Partial filmography

As screenwriter, unless otherwise indicated.


  1. ^ a b "80,200 See War Knight Win Santa Anita Handicap". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. March 10, 1946. Charging into the lead in the last few strides, War Knight, 6 year old bay horse owned by Miss Ethel Hill, Hollywood scenario writer, won the $100,000 added Santa Anita Handicap in a photo finish.
  2. ^ a b "Movie Magnates Eye Easy Dough". Salt Lake Tribune. Associated Press. December 23, 1945 – via Screenwriter Ethel Hill plans to mop up with War Knight, winner of the Arlington Handicap in 1944 open access
  3. ^ a b Jimmie Fidler (April 7, 1946). "Jimmie Fidler in Hollywood". Monroe Morning World – via Ha! Screen-Writer Ethel Hill, whose nag won the $100,000 Santa Anita Handicap, had to change her phone number to escape from too-insistent salesmen! open access
  4. ^ a b Norman, Marc (October 8, 2008). What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting. Crown Publishing Group. p. 136. ISBN 978-0307450203. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  5. ^ "9 Jul 1978, 366 - The Los Angeles Times at". Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  6. ^ a b c d Morton Cathro (March 2, 2005). "Hollywood Ending". Retrieved January 7, 2015.