Clifford Odets has been characterized
as the most distinctive and significant American playwright of the 1930’s,
and his body of work remains a lasting contribution to the American Theatre.
Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1906, he began his career as a theatre critic,
a writer of radio plays, and as a bit actor in stock companies, joining
the famed Group Theatre in 1931. Beginning with Waiting for Lefty
in 1935, his work vividly communicated the experience of the times with
plays such as Awake and Sing!, Paradise Lost, Rocket to the Moon,
and Golden Boy. During the last twenty years of his life, while
working in Hollywood as a film and television scriptwriter, he wrote three
plays, The Big Knife, The Country
Girl, and The Flowering Peach. He died in Los Angeles in
1963. In 1979 Harold Clurman wrote: "…no American playwright
since O’Neill has been more greatly gifted than Odets."