Arthur Kober (August 25, 1900 – June 12, 1975) was an American humorist, author, press agent, and screenwriter. He was married to the dramatist Lillian Hellman.

Arthur Kober
BornArthur Kober
(1900-08-25)August 25, 1900
Brody, Galicia, Austria-Hungary
DiedJune 12, 1975(1975-06-12) (aged 74)
New York City, U.S.
Lillian Hellman
(m. 1925⁠–⁠1932)

Margaret Frohnknecht
(m. 1941⁠–⁠1951)
RelativesAndrew Kober (grandnephew)


Early lifeEdit

Kober was born into a Jewish family in Brody, Galicia, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of western Ukraine). His family emigrated to the United States when he was 4. They first moved to Harlem before settling in The Bronx.[1]

He attended the High School Of Commerce (later known as Louis D. Brandeis High School) for one semester before working at a series of jobs, including as a stock clerk at Gimbels. He then found work as a theatrical press agent for the Shubert brothers, Jed Harris, Herman Shumlin, and Ruth Draper.[1]

Kober married Lillian Hellman on December 31, 1925. During their marriage, they often lived apart. They divorced in 1932, after Hellman had started a relationship with Dashiell Hammett.[2] He later married Margaret Frohnknecht in 1941, who died in 1951. They had one daughter, Catherine.[1]

Writing careerEdit

Kober began writing humorous short fiction for The New Yorker in 1926 and became a prolific contributor. Many of his characters, such as the husband-hunter Bella Gross, were based on his Jewish upbringing in the Bronx.[3] His New Yorker stories were later collected in the anthologies Thunder Over the Bronx (1935), Pardon Me for Pointing (1939), My Dear Bella (1941), Parm Me (1945), and Bella, Bella Kissed a Fella (1951).[4]

He became a screenwriter in Hollywood, working on about 30 films in the 1930s and 1940s, including The Little Foxes (1938), based on Hellman's semi-autobiographical play.[1]

Kober wrote the Broadway play Having Wonderful Time, a comedy set in a Jewish resort in the Catskills.[5] It was staged in 1937 and the following year it was made into a Hollywood film, though the Jewish ethnic humor was sanitized.[5] It was adapted as a stage musical, Wish You Were Here, in 1952.[5]

Kober died of cancer in New York on June 12, 1975 at the age of 74.[1] He was portrayed by David Paymer in the 1999 film, Dash and Lilly.[6]




Television writingEdit


  • Thunder Over the Bronx (1935)
  • Pardon Me for Pointing (1939)
  • My Dear Bella (1941)
  • Parm Me (1945)
  • That Man is Here Again: The Adventures of a Hollywood Agent (1946)
  • Bella, Bella Kissed a Fella (1951)
  • Oooh, What You Said! (1958)


  1. ^ a b c d e Shenker, Israel (June 13, 1975). "Arthur Kober, Humorist, Is Dead at 74". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Martinson, Deborah (2005). Lillian Hellman: A Life with Foxes and Scoundrels. Counterpoint Press.
  3. ^ "Arthur Kober". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  4. ^ Hart, James D., ed. (1986). The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 211.
  5. ^ a b c Erickson, Hal. "Arthur Kober". AllMovie. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Dash and Lilly". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2014.

External linksEdit