- (1906 - 63) Left-wing US playwright best known for theinfluential dramas of social protest he wrote in the 1930s. He described his work as an attempt to explore how a person can retain"the conviction of innocence" in a materialistic world.Odets, who was a founding member (1931) of the Group Theatre,New York, made his name with his first play, the six-scene Waitingfor Lefty (1935). The play, about a cab strike in New York, alsofinds time to attack such varied targets as the US medical systemand chemical warfare.
His other plays include Till the Day I Die (1935),about the anti-Nazi underground in Germany, Awake and Sing!(1935), concerning a Jewish working-class boy, Golden Boy(1937), about professional boxing, and The Big Knife (1949),an exposé of Hollywood decadence reflecting his own experienceas a scriptwriter. The Country Girl (1950) tells the storyof an alcoholic actor and his wife; it was seen in London two yearslater as Winter Journey and was filmed in 1954 with Bing Crosbyand Grace Kelly in the leading roles. Odets's last play, The FloweringPeach (1954), is a retelling of the story of Noah set in modernBrooklyn.He hits hard, and below the belt if need be. But at leasthe hits.John Mason Brown: Dramatis Personae