DeWitt Bodeen (July 25, 1908 — March 12, 1988) was an American film screenwriter and television writer best known for writing Cat People (1942).

DeWitt Bodeen
BornHomer DeWitt Bodeen
July 25, 1908
Fresno, California, United States
DiedMarch 12, 1988(1988-03-12) (aged 79)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationScreenwriter, television writer



Born Homer DeWitt Bodeen on July 25, 1908, in Fresno, California,[1] he began his career as an actor and wrote more than 20 plays before entering the film business. He began his career in the film industry when his stage work drew the attention of film writer and producer Val Lewton, who arranged for Bodeen to work as a research assistant to British novelist Aldous Huxley.[2]

He published his first book-length contribution to entertainment history in 1937, Ladies of the Footlights, a slim volume of theater celebrity profiles.[3][a]

In the late 1930s, he began working for RKO and worked his way up to a script writer. His screenwriting credits include Cat People (1942),[4] The Curse of the Cat People (1944),[5] The Seventh Victim (1943),[6] The Enchanted Cottage (1945),[7] I Remember Mama (1948),[8] Night Song (1948),[9] and Billy Budd (1962).

His play Harvest of Years premiered on Broadway in January 1948.[10] It ran for two weeks.

Beginning in the 1950s he moved to television, writing mainly for anthology shows including Robert Montgomery Presents, Climax!, and Schlitz Playhouse of Stars among others.

Bodeen was gay.[11][12] In the 1950s he was Val Dufour's companion, living with him.[1]

In his later years he became a historian of Hollywood and the film industry. He wrote articles for the journal Films in Review[b] and Focus on Film. His books included The Films of Cecil B. DeMille (1969), The Films and Career of Maurice Chevalier (1973),[5] From Hollywood!: the careers of 15 great American stars (1972), and More from Hollywood!: the careers of 15 great American stars (1977).[c] He wrote one novel, the 1975 gothic roman à clef mystery 13 Castle Walk, which fictionalized the unsolved 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor.[14]

He was still writing in 1979 at the age of 70, when he lived at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.[15] He died there on March 12, 1988.[5]


  1. ^ His subjects were: Lola Montez, Adah Isaacs Menken, Lotta Crabtree, Pauline Cushman, Catherine Sinclair, Helena Modjeska, Adelaide Neilson, Ada Rehan, Lillie Langtry, Julia Dean, Laura Keene, Sarah Bernhardt, Fanny Davenport, Eleonora Duse, Matilda Heron, Julia Marlowe, Clara Morris, Mary Anderson, Ellen Terry, and Lillian Russell.[3]
  2. ^ For example, a profile of Ramon Novarro in November 1967.[13]
  3. ^ From Hollywood and More from Hollywood were collections of profiles previously published in periodicals.


  1. ^ a b "Overview for DeWitt Bodeen". Turner Classic Movies.
  2. ^ Bansak, Edmund F. (2003). Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton Career. McFarland. p. 89. ISBN 9780786417094. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Bodeen, DeWitt (1937). The Ladies of the Fooights. Pasadena, California: Logan Printing. OCLC 5011627. Retrieved July 4, 2021. Republished in 2013 by Literary Licensing.
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley (December 7, 1942). "'Cat People,' With Simone Simon and Jack Holt, at Rialto -- New Swedish Film at 48th Street". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "'Cat People,' 'Billy Budd': DeWitt Bodeen, 79; Screenwriter and Author". Los Angeles Times. March 18, 1988.
  6. ^ Benshoff, Harry M. (1997). Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film. Manchester University Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780719044731. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Crowther, Bosley (April 28, 1945). "'Enchanted Cottage,' Remake of Play by Sir Arthur Pinero, With Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young, New Film at the Astor". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley (March 12, 1948). "Irene Dunne and Oscar Homotka Head Brilliant Cast in RKO' 'I Remember Mama'". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021. a free-wheeling script by DeWitt Bodeen
  9. ^ Crowther, Bosley (January 29, 1948). "'Night Song,' Story of a Blind Composer, Opens at Palace -- Dana Andrews in Lead". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  10. ^ Crowther, Bosley (January 13, 1948). "Esther Dale Appears in 'Harvest of Years,' by DeWitt Bodeen, at the Hudson Theatre". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  11. ^ Ehrenstein, David (December 30, 2001). "Out of Hollywood's Closet". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021. DeWitt Bodeen--a brilliant gay screenwriter
  12. ^ Hernandez, David (2010). Broken Face In The Mirror (Crooks and Fallen Stars That Look Very Much Like Us). Dorrance Publishing. p. 132. ISBN 9781434947239. as gay writer DeWitt Bodeen noted
  13. ^ Garcia Berumen, Frank Javier (2001). Ramon Novarro: The Life and Films of the First Latino Hollywood Superstar. Vantage Press. pp. 163–4.
  14. ^ Slide, Anthony (1995). "Bodeen, DeWitt". The Hollywood Novel: a Critical Guide to Over 1200 Works. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. p. 46.
  15. ^ Johnson, Sharon (June 2, 1979). "A Retirement Home That Retains a Bit Of Hollywood Dazzle". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2021.