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Mary McCarthy
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    (June 21, 1912-October 25, 1989)
    Born in Seattle, Washington
    Wrote 'The Company They Keep' (1942), 'The Oasis' (1949), 'The Groves of Academe' (1952), 'A Charmed Life' (1955), 'Memories of a Catholic Girlhood' (1957), 'The Group' (1962), 'Vietnam' (1967), 'Birds of America' (1971) and 'Ideas and the Novel' (1980)
    Sister of actor Kevin McCarthy
    She was married four times, divorced three times.
    In her autobiography, she described her second husband, critic Edmund Wilson, as a 'fat, puffing' old man whom she never loved.
    She wrote criticism for the Partisan Review while sleeping with the editor.
    She was called 'the lady with the switchblade' for her cutting remarks.
    She was sued for libel after saying of Lillian Hellman, 'Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.''
    At age six, she was orphaned when both her parents died in the Spanish flu epidemic.
    She was sent to live with an abusive aunt and uncle who beat her after she won an academic prize to keep her from developing a 'swelled head.'
    Commenting on her atheism, she said, 'If the kind of God exists who would damn me for not working out a deal with Him, then that is unfortunate. I should not care to spend eternity in the company of such a person.'
    Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., said, 'I absolutely adored Mary. I was transfixed by her. She was so beautiful, so witty, so much fun to talk to.'
    Her feud with Hellman inspired Nora Ephron's musical 'Imaginary Friends.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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