"Inherit the Wind" is a 1955 play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. The story is a fictionalized version of the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial,” a trial discussing whether evolution should be legal to be taught in American schools. The title of the novel comes from a Biblical verse Proverbs 11:29 which reads: … [Read more...] about Inherit the Wind
Jerome Lawrence was born on July 14th, 1915 in Cleveland, Ohio. The son of a publisher and a poet, he attended Ohio State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 1937. After college, Lawrence began working for small newspapers as a reporter before beginning a career in radio, writing for CBS.
Robert E. Lee was born on October 15th, 1918 in Elyria, Ohio to a teacher and an engineer. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University.
During World War II, both Lawrence and his writing partner, Robert E. Lee working for the Armed Forces Radio. Together, Lee and Lawrence began a prolific radio-writing partnership that lasted several years until they eventually began writing live theater.
In 1955, their first project, "Inherit the Wind" saw great success and remains a classic to this day. They also created the play "Auntie Mame."
In 1965 they created the American Playwrights' Theater, in order to give another option to playwrights that precluded the overly commercial Broadway theater. They created several very successful plays for the Playwrights Theater including, "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" (1969) a play that explores resistance to the war during the Vietnam-era and "Jabberwock" (1972) a play about the author James Thurber.
Altogether, the men wrote and produced 39 plays, radio shows and musicals and won a Tony Award for the musical adaptation of "Auntie Mame".
Lee died on July 8th, 1994 at the age of 75 and was survived by his wife, the voice actress Janet Waldo and children. He is currently buried in Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
Lawrence taught playwrighting at the University of Southern California for several years. He later died due to complications from a stroke at the age of 88 on February 29th, 2004. He was survived by his partner of 15 years Will Willoughby.
The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theater Research Institute was dedicated to both men at Ohio State University in 1986.