Marc Connelly
photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1937
photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1937
BornMarcus Cook Connelly
(1890-12-13)December 13, 1890
McKeesport, Pennsylvania, US
DiedDecember 21, 1980(1980-12-21) (aged 90)
New York City, US
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Drama (1930)
SpouseMadeline Hurlock (m.1930–div.1935)

Marcus Cook Connelly (December 13, 1890 – December 21, 1980) was an American playwright, director, producer, performer, and lyricist. He was a key member of the Algonquin Round Table, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1930.


Connelly was born to actor and hotelier Patrick Joseph Connelly and actress Mabel Fowler Cook in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. His father died in 1902. Connelly attended Trinity Hall boarding school in Washington, Pennsylvania, after which he began collecting money for ads in The Pittsburgh Press to help to support his mother.[1] He began writing plays at the age of five.[citation needed]

His initial newspaper job led to Connelly's working as an Associated Press cub reporter, after which he became a junior reporter for The Pittsburgh Gazette Times. Eventually he began writing a humor column for that newspaper.[1] He also became a journalist for the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph until he moved to New York City.[citation needed] In 1919 he joined the Algonquin Round Table.

While he was working in Pittsburgh, Connelly ventured into writing for the stage, creating skits for shows put on by an athletic association and one-act plays for a little theater group. His interest in the theater increased after he began reporting on the theater beat for The Morning Telegraph in New York City. In that role he developed a friendship with George S. Kaufman, who wrote about drama for The New York Times.[1]

Connelly had contributed to several Broadway musicals before teaming up with his most important collaborator, Kaufman, in 1921. During their four-year partnership, they wrote five comedies – Dulcy (1921), To the Ladies (1922), Merton of the Movies (1922), The Deep Tangled Wildwood (1923) and Beggar on Horseback (1924) – and also co-directed and contributed sketches to the 1922 revue The '49ers, collaborated on the book to the musical comedy Helen of Troy, New York (1923), and wrote both the book and lyrics for another musical comedy, Be Yourself (1924).

Connelly received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for The Green Pastures in 1930.[2] The play, a re-telling of episodes from the Old Testament, was staged with the first all-black Broadway cast. He contributed verse and articles to Life, Everybody's, and other magazines.

Connelly was one of the wittiest members of the Algonquin Round Table. He said, "I always knew children were anti-social. But the children of the West Side – they're savage."[citation needed]

Connelly was a drama teacher at Yale University from 1946 to 1950.[3] In 1968, Connelly published his memoirs, Voices Offstage. Over the years, Connelly appeared as an actor in 21 movies, including The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) with James Stewart.

Connelly's television debut as an actor came in 1953 in an episode of Broadway TV Theatre on WOR-TV. A review in the trade publication Variety said that Connelly "handled himself with winning aplomb".[4]

A film about the Round Table members, The Ten-Year Lunch (1987), won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and featured Connelly, who was the last survivor. The 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, a fictional account of the group, featured actor Matt Malloy as Connelly.

Connelly died on December 21, 1980, in St. Luke's Hospital in Manhattan, aged 90.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1920 The Sleep of Cyma Roget Minor Role
1957 The Spirit of St. Louis Father Hussman
1960 Tall Story Prof. Charles Osman


  1. ^ a b c d Whitman, Alden (December 22, 1980). "Marc Connelly, Playwright, Dies; Won Fame With 'Green Pastures'". The New York Times. p. A 1. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  2. ^ Buckley, Tom (November 8, 1980). "City Hall Celebrates Marc Connelly at 90: Doing the 'Tribute Circuit' City Hall Salutes Marc Connelly". The New York Times. p. 25. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  3. ^ "Marc Connelly | American playwright | Britannica". December 9, 2023.
  4. ^ "Television Followup". Variety. May 20, 1953. p. 26. Retrieved November 5, 2023.