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Leo Rosten
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    (April 11, 1908-February 19, 1997)
    Born in Lodz, Poland
    Humorist, author and screenwriter
    Wrote screenplays for 'All Through the Night' (1941), 'The Conspirators' (1944), 'The Dark Corner' (1946), 'Lured' (1947), 'Double Dynamite' (1951) and 'Captain Newman, M.D.' (1963)
    Columnist for 'Look' magazine (1949-71)
    Wrote 'The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N' (1937), 'The Return of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N' (1959), 'The Joys of Yiddish' (1968), 'Leo Rosten's Treasury of Jewish Quotations' (1977) and 'Leo Rosten's Carnival of Wit: From Aristotle to Woody Allen' (1996)
    He did most of his scriptwriting under the pseudonym Leonard Q. Ross.
    Some fellow Jewish writers complained that the dialect humor in his Hyman Kaplan stories reinforced anti-semitic stereotypes.
    Much of his humor was old borscht-belt schtick.
    His most famous quote -- 'Any man who hates dogs and babies can't be all bad,' said at a roast of W.C. Fields -- is commonly misattributed to Fields himself.
    His Hyman Kaplan stories were inspired by a Depression-era night job teaching English to recent immigrants.
    The Nurses Association of America said there should be a warning label on the first Hyman Kaplan book because patients reading it laughed so hard they were in danger of bursting their stitches.
    In 'The Joys of Yiddish,' he famously defined chutzpah as 'that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.'
    When a friend noted, 'The critics don't know how to categorize you: a novelist, an essayist, a humorist, or a social commentator,' he replied, 'That's their problem.'
    He wrote, 'I would say one of the requisites for sanity is a sense of humor -- and its absence is crippling.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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