Damon Runyon (Alfred Damon Runyon) Biography
(1884–1946), (Alfred Damon Runyon), Guys and Dolls, Take It Easy, A Slight Case of Murder
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: M(acha)L(ouis) Rosenthal Biography to William Sansom [Norman Trevor Sansom] Biography
American writer, born in Manhattan, Kansas. Runyon won fame for his stories of Broadway life, turning the gamblers, gangsters, and high-rollers of the 1920s and 1930s into exotic characters, whose inventive slang vocabulary captured the imagination of his audience. Many of these stories were later gathered in collections such as Guys and Dolls (1932) and Take It Easy (1938). A theatrical farce called A Slight Case of Murder (1935) was coauthored with Howard Lindsay. One of the stories from Guys and Dolls, ‘The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown’, formed the basis for Frank Loesser's famous musical version of Guys and Dolls of 1950 and was later made into a movie starring Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando. Runyon belongs to a long tradition of American writers of comedy whose work occasionally transcends the limitations of the comic mode to accomplish a work of durable pleasure and fascination. John Mosedale's The Men Who Invented Broadway: Damon Runyon, Walter Winchell and Their World (1981) is the standard biography.