Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I knew that Dorothy Parker had left her estate to the Rev. Martin Luther King, and that Lillian Hellman, her literary executor, had been a poor guardian of her memory, but I hadn't known the details. In her Paris Review interview she talked about F. Scott Fitgerald: "Terrible about Scott. When he died I said, 'Poor son of a bitch', and everyone took it as a crack.'" The same might have been said for poor Dottie, whose remains rested in Paul O'Dwyer's file cabinet for 21 years. I haven't read Brenden Gill's introduction to "The Portable Dorothy Parker"-- Hellman picked Gill for the assignment, and he had little kind to say. It is rotten to think that a soft assignment like that resulted in a piece of work that was insulting to its subject, yielding years of residuals to Gill, but it appears that's just the sort of thing that happened to Parker, alive or dead. I hadn't thought I could think less of him, but I do now.

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