Lauri Wylie (25 May 1880 – 1951) was a British author. He is primarily known as the author of the play "Dinner for One", the 1963 screen adaptation of which went on to become the most frequently repeated television programme ever, according to the Guinness Book of Records, due in large part to its place as a New Year's viewing tradition in Germany.
Wylie was born as Morris Laurence Samuelson in Southport, England, recorded as Maurice Laurence Samuelson Metzenberg. Wylie's older brother, Julian Samuelson, was a well-known producer in London, and Lauri Wylie's agent for plays produced as early as 1915. Lauri Wylie is also the brother of early film pioneer G.B. Samuelson and uncle of former British Film Commissioner Sydney Samuelson.
Lauri Wylie began his career in the late 1890s in London as an actor, receiving frequent writeups in the entertainment press of the day. His first work as a playwright was in 1911 with "Early Morning Reflections", which earned him a copyright infringement lawsuit for having plagiarised a similar play, "The Broken Mirror".
He has authored / co-authored several revues and operettas (including Four, Five, Six at the Duke of York's Theatre in London, a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan entitled A "G&S" Cocktail (1925, pub. 1936), and Princess Charming (1930), which was made into a film in 1934 and released under the name Alexandra in the United States in 1935. With his younger brother, G.B. Samuelson, he co-wrote The Game of Life (1922), at the time the longest British feature film ever produced. His other films include A Warm Corner (1930) and Never Trouble Trouble (1931).
His one major success, "Dinner for One", possibly written as early as the 1920s (though more likely not until the early 1940s, since no performances are known prior to that date and it borrows heavily from a late 1930s routine credited to Red Skelton), premiered at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1948, and was later presented on Broadway in 1953 in the revue Almanac by John Murray Anderson. Wylie, however, never profited from the script rights which were – allegedly[by whom?] – sold to English comedian Freddie Frinton (who played the role of James the butler in the 1963 television adaptation and had performed the sketch numerous times on stage) after Wylie died.
Death and legacyEdit
Wylie's short play Dinner for One has had a significant cultural impact in Germany. Having been a part of German culture for 50 years, it has spawned thousands of parodies. One such parody, involving German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, may have led to Mrs. Merkel's widely publicised reference to Dinner for One in her 2012 New Year's address.
- Gabriel A. Sivan, Jewish Historical Studies , volume 44, 2012
- "Slate Magazine article on Dinner for One". Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Name from Record of Marriage in Ormskirk (1904) from FreeBMD". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
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- "Julian Samuelson memorabilia page". its-behind-you.com. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "The Stage Year Book, 1915" (PDF). Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Rubinstein, William D; Jolles, Michael; Rubinstein, Hilary L (22 February 2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. ISBN 9781403939104. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Lauri Wylie articles in The Era, c.1898". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Lauri Wylie newspaper articles". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Lawsuit on "Early Morning Reflections" in the London Daily Mail". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Library of Congress Copyright Entry for A G&S Cocktail. 1937. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Library of Congress Copyright Entry for Princess Charming (film adaptation). 1936. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "IMDB entry for Alexandra". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "IMDB entry for The Game of Life". Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Lauri Wylie films at MSN Entertainment". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "PlayBillVault: Almanac". playbillvault.com. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Record of death in Brighton (not Shoreham) from FreeBMD". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "50th Anniversary of "Dinner for One"; Deutsche Welle". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Angela Merkel speech on EUObserver.com". Retrieved 3 November 2013.