John Patrick Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

John Patrick was born John Patrick Goggan on May 17, 1905, in Louisville, Kentucky. Following a rift with his parents, which he did not publicly discuss, Patrick spent a portion of his youth living with relatives and attending boarding schools such as St. Mary’s Seminary in La Porte, Texas, and St. Edward’s College in Austin, Texas. Later he attended Holy Cross College in New Orleans and was a summer school student at Harvard and Columbia universities. In the early 1930’s, Patrick began a career in San Francisco as a scriptwriter for the National Broadcasting Company, where he authored numerous radio scripts and earned a reputation for his radio dramatizations of novels.

In 1935, Patrick’s first play, a melodrama titled Hell Freezes Over, concerning polar explorers whose dirigible crash-lands in the Antarctic, was produced on Broadway; the production was the directorial debut of Joshua Logan, who went on to gain fame as director of South Pacific (1949) and many other Broadway musicals. Hell Freezes Over closed after an unfavorable reception, causing critic George Jean Nathan to remark that its playwright should be thrown back to Hollywood. Perhaps taking his cue from Nathan, a talent scout secured for Patrick a Hollywood contract. Returning to California, Patrick developed his craft by writing thirty or more screenplays between 1936 and 1968 for such studios as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Twentieth Century-Fox.

Leaving Hollywood (to which he would often return for screenwriting assignments) in the late 1930’s, Patrick established himself in Boston. It was there that he wrote “The Gentle...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

John Patrick was one of the most prolific American playwrights on record. In addition to some fifty plays, he was the author of thirty screenplays (many adapted from novels or plays), more than a thousand radio plays, and a television play. Although his plays range in genre and subject matter, the majority are comedies and evidence their author’s craftsmanship and comedic talent. Born John Patrick Goggan in Louisville, Kentucky, he spent a portion of his youth in boarding schools and later attended Holy Cross College in New Orleans. In the 1930’s Patrick began his career in San Francisco as a National Broadcasting Company (NBC) scriptwriter and earned a reputation for radio dramatizations of novels. Patrick first reached Broadway in 1935 with Hell Freezes Over, a short-lived melodrama about polar explorers in Antarctica. Returning to California, he became a Hollywood screenwriter and developed his craft by writing thirty-odd screenplays between 1936 and 1968 for major studios. Leaving Hollywood (to which he often returned for screenwriting assignments) in the late 1930’s, he established himself in Boston, where he wrote The Willow and I, a psychological drama about two destructive sisters competing for the same man, and The Story of Mary Surratt, a historical drama about the Washington landlady hanged by a vengeful military tribunal for suspected complicity in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Both plays received Broadway productions in the 1940’s, but neither was a box office success.{$S[A]Goggan, John Patrick;Patrick, John}

In 1942 Patrick joined the American Field Service in World War II, serving overseas as a captain with a British ambulance unit in Egypt, India, Burma, and Syria. His wartime experience furnished the background for the 1945 play The Hasty Heart, which centers on a dour, terminally ill Scottish sergeant sent to a British military hospital ward in Southeast Asia, where he remains unaware that his illness will bring an...

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(Drama for Students)

John Patrick Goggan was bom on May 17, 1905, in Louisville. Kentucky, the son of John Francis and Myrtle (Osborn) Goggan. Abandoned by both...

(The entire section is 280 words.)