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Laura Z. Hobson
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Author
    (June 19, 1900-February 28, 1986)
    Born in Queens, New York
    Birth name was Laura Zametkin
    Wrote the novels 'The Trespassers' (1943), 'Gentleman's Agreement' (1947), 'The Celebrity' (1951), 'First Papers' (1964), 'The Tenth Month' (1971) and 'Consenting Adults' (1975)
    She rarely gave interviews or discussed her private life.
    After her divorce from publisher Francis Hobson, she had a son out of wedlock, but covered it up by adopting the child.
    'Gentleman's Agreement,' about a reporter who pretends to be Jewish in order to write about antisemitism, overshadowed all her other writing.
    Screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr., joked that the moral of 'Gentleman's Agreement' was 'You should never be mean to a Jew, because he might turn out to be a gentile.'
    Her father was a Russian socialist who had been tortured by the tsar's secret police.
    She was hired by Henry Luce for Time's promotional staff, making her the first woman to work for the magazine in a position other than secretary.
    She edited the double crosstics puzzle in 'Sunday Review' for 27 years.
    After the Jewish Book Council named 'Gentleman's Agreement' the best Jewish novel of 1947, she refused the award, saying that the issue of antisemitism in the novel was important for all Americans.
    The film adaptation of 'Gentleman's Agreement' won the Oscar for Best Picture.
    At a dinner, when one of the guests cracked an antisemitic joke then quasi-apologized with 'I didn't know you were Jewish,' she replied, 'Only on my father's side and my mother's side.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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