Who was Dorothy Baker, and what are her most important works?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Dorothy Baker was born in Missoula, Montana in 1907 but spent much of her life as a freelance writer in California, after graduating from UCLA. Her best-known work is Young Man with a Horn (1938), which was made into a Hollywood feature film in 1950 starring Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Hoagy Carmichael. The leading character in Young Man with a Horn, who is called Rick Martin, is loosely based on the life of the legendary jazz trumpet player Bix Beiderbeck. Baker's other important works are Trio (1942), a novel about a lesbian relationship which created a small scandal; and Cassandra at the Wedding (1962), a tragicomic novel about the relationship between two sisters who are identical twins. Baker received the prestigious Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award for Young Man with a Horn and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1942. She died of cancer in 1968.

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