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            Fred F. Finklehoffe

            Biografie

            After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1932, Finklehoffe and fellow graduate, John Monks Jr., decided to re-write their college thesis on cadet life at VMI as a play. The noted director and playwright George Abbott liked the piece and produced it on Broadway in December 1936. Entitled 'Brother Rat', it was hugely successful, running for an astonishing 575 performances. The play was then passed on to Warner Bothers for $150,000. Having added a degree in law from Yale University to his resume, Finklehoffe suddenly found himself a much sought-after property in Hollywood. After writing a sequel to Brother Rat (1938) - the original screenplay for Brother Rat and a Baby (1940) - he was signed to a fifteen-year contract by MGM.

            During the 1940's, he worked, usually in collaboration, on musicals and comedies. At his creative peak, he received an Academy Award nomination for Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). Finklehoffe also co-authored the comedy The Egg and I (1947), which spawned the 'Ma and Pa Kettle' series at Universal with Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride. On Broadway, he was active as producer, his biggest hit being 'The Heiress', which was staged at the Biltmore Theatre and starred Wendy Hiller and Basil Rathbone, who was nominated for a Tony Award.

            A close friend of actress Judy Garland, Finklehoffe began writing a biography of the star in 1960, but decided to abandon the project due to her declining health. He was married three times. His second wife was the actress Ella Logan (whom he featured on Broadway in 'Show Time', in 1942), his third, in 1956, was the fashion consultant Carolyn Jo Phillips.

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