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Ben Travers
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Playwright
    (November 12, 1886-December 18, 1980)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Wrote the plays 'The Dippers' (1922), 'The Three Graces' (1924), 'A Cuckoo in the Nest' (1925), 'Rookery Nook' (1926), 'Thark' (1927), 'Plunder' (1928), 'A Cup of Kindness' (1929), 'A Night Like This' (1930), 'Turkey Time' (1931), 'Dirty Work' (1932), 'A Bit of a Test' (1933), 'Banana Ridge' (1938), 'Outrageous Forturne' (1947), 'Wild Horses' (1951), 'Corker's End' (1968) and 'The Bed Before Yesterday' (1975)
    Named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1976)
    He said he was 'a complete failure at school.'
    His one attempt at a serious play, 'Chastity, My Brother' (1936), was a flop, closing in two weeks.
    He wrote, 'I know I am a pitiable, unashamed Philistine, but I simply cannot abide the plays of Anton Chekhov.'
    When his 1920s plays were reprinted accompanied by a blurb asking, 'Is it too far-fetched to compare him to P.G. Wodehouse at his best,' Travers took umbrage, saying that Wodehouse was 'a silly man.'
    He was an RAF pilot during World War I and the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War.
    During World War II, he rejoined the RAF as an intelligence officer and worked at the Ministry of Information.
    After the abolition of theater censorship allowed him to write openly about sexual matters, he created 'The Bed Before Yesterday,' about a middle-aged woman discovering the pleasure of sex, and had the greatest success of his career at age 89.
    The 'Times' of London wrote, '[Farce] can be one happiest of theatrical forms. It is also among the most difficult to write. Ben Travers, indisputably, was the 20th century's chief practitioner.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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