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Encyclopedia > Bennett Cerf
Bennett Cerf photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1932
Bennett Cerf photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1932

Bennett Alfred Cerf (May 25, 1898 - August 27, 1971) was a publisher and co-founder of Random House, also known for his own compilations of jokes and puns, for regular personal appearances lecturing across the United States, and for his television appearances in the panel game show What's My Line? Bennett Cerf photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1932 Oct. ... Bennett Cerf photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1932 Oct. ... Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. ... is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 239th day of the year (240th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar, known as the year of cyclohexanol. ... // Random House is a publishing house based in New York City. ... For other uses, see Pun (disambiguation). ... Whats My Line? is a weekly panel game show originally produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS television. ...

Contents

Biography

Bennett Cerf was born and brought up in New York City in a Jewish family [1] of Alsatian and German descent. His father, Gustave Cerf, was a lithographer; his mother, Frederika Wise, was an heiress to a tobacco-distribution fortune. New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Elsaß redirects here. ...


Cerf attended the same public school as composer Richard Rodgers, the publisher Richard Simon, and the playwright Howard Dietz, and he spent his teenage years at 790 Riverside Drive, an apartment building in Washington Heights that was home to two other friends who became prominent as adults, Dietz and the Hearst newspapers financial editor Merryle Rukeyser. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1919 and his Litt.B. in 1920 from its School of Journalism. On graduating, he worked briefly as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, and for some time in a Wall Street brokerage, before becoming vice president of the Boni and Liveright publishing house. This article is about the American composer. ... Richard L. Simon (1899 - July 29, 1960) was an American businessman, the co-founder of the publishing house Simon & Schuster. ... Howard Dietz (September 8, 1896 - July 30, 1983) was an American publicist, lyricist, and librettist. ... Washington Heights seen from the west tower of the George Washington Bridge. ... Alma Mater Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display 1920) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is the only journalism school in the Ivy League; it awards the Pulitzer Prize and duPont-Columbia Award; co-sponsors the National Magazine Award and publishes the Columbia Journalism Review. ... The New York Herald Tribune was a newspaper created in 1924 when the New York Tribune acquired the New York Herald. ... Elaborate marble facade of NYSE as seen from the intersection of Broad and Wall Streets For other uses, see Wall Street (disambiguation). ...


In 1925, Cerf and his friend Donald Klopfer bought the rights from Boni and Liveright to the Modern Library and went into business for themselves. They made the series quite successful and in 1927 they started to publish general trade books selected "at random." Thus began their formidable publishing business, Random House. It used as its logo a charming little house drawn by Cerf's friend Rockwell Kent.[citation needed] Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Modern Library, a current division of Random House publishers, was founded in 1917 by Albert Boni and Horace Liveright. ... Year 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Rockwell Kent photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1933 Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an American artist was born in Tarrytown, New York, was well educated in art. ...


Cerf's talent in building and maintaining relationships brought contracts with writers such as William Faulkner, John O'Hara, Eugene O'Neill, James Michener, Truman Capote, Theodor Seuss Geisel, and others among the greatest writers of the day, who supported Random House just as Random House supported them.[citation needed] He published Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Even though he vehemently disagreed with her philosophy, they became lifelong friends. [2] William Cuthbert Faulkner (born William Falkner), (September 25, 1897–July 6, 1962) was an American author. ... For other persons named John OHara, see John OHara (disambiguation). ... Eugene Gladstone ONeill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) was a Nobel- and four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright. ... James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907? - October 16, 1997) was the American author of such books as Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas and Poland. ... Truman Capote (pronounced ; 30 September 1924 – 25 August 1984) was an American writer whose stories, novels, plays, and non-fiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffanys (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a non-fiction novel. ... Theodor Seuss Geisel (pronounced ; March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991) was an American writer and cartoonist, better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss (often pronounced , but he himself said [1]). He published over 40 childrens books, which were often characterized by his imaginative characters and frequent use of... For the film, see Atlas Shrugged (film). ... Ayn Rand (IPA: , February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum (Russian: ), was a Russian-born American novelist and philosopher. ...


In 1933, Cerf won United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, a landmark court case against government censorship, and published James Joyce's unabridged Ulysses for the first time in the United States. Critical reviews of the book were pasted into a special copy, which was duly imported and seized by U.S. Customs. Cerf later presented the book to Columbia University.[citation needed] Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... ... For other uses, see Censor. ... This article is about the writer and poet. ... Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. ... Alma Mater Columbia University is a private university in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. ...


In the early 1950s, while maintaining a Manhattan residence, Cerf managed to acquire inexpensively an estate at Mount Kisco, New York, which became his country home for the rest of his life. Cerf married actress Sylvia Sidney on 1 October 1935, but the couple was divorced on 9 April 1936. He was married to former Hollywood actress Phyllis Fraser, a cousin of Ginger Rogers, from September 17, 1940 until his death. They had two sons, Christopher Cerf and Jonathan Cerf. This article is about the borough of New York City. ... Mount Kisco (often spelled Mt. ... Sylvia Sidney (August 8, 1910 - July 1, 1999) was an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning American actress. ... is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1935 (MCMXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar). ... is the 99th day of the year (100th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Phyllis Fraser Cerf Wagner was an American actress, journalist, and childrens book publisher, and the co-founder of Beginner Books. ... Ginger Rogers (Virginia Katherine McMath, July 16, 1911 – April 25, 1995) was an Academy Award-winning American film and stage actress and singer. ... is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Christopher Cerf (born August 19, 1941) is an author, composer-lyricist, and record and television producer. ...


In 1959, Maco Magazine Corporation published what has since become known as "The Cream of the Master's Crop." This groundbreaking compilation of jokes, gags, stories, puns, and wit is the essence of Bennett Cerf and his humor.


Cerf began appearing weekly on What's My Line? in 1951 and continued until the show's CBS network end in 1967. Cerf continued to appear occasionally on the Viacom syndicated version with Arlene Francis until his death. Late in life he suffered the embarrassment of an exposé by Jessica Mitford - published in the June 1970 Atlantic Monthly - denouncing the business practices of the Famous Writers School, which Cerf had founded. Whats My Line? is a weekly panel game show originally produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman for CBS television. ... Year 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ... Viacom (NYSE: VIA) (NYSE: VIAb) is an American media conglomerate with various worldwide interests in cable and satellite television networks (MTV Networks and BET), and movie production and distribution (the Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks movie studios). ... Arlene Francis (born Arline Francis Kazanjian October 20, 1907 - May 31, 2001) was an American actress, radio talk show host and game show panelist of Armenian and Greek descent. ... The Honourable Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford, known to friends and family as Decca (September 11, 1917–July 22, 1996), self-described muckraker and political radical, was one of the noted Mitford sisters, daughters of David Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, the 2nd Baron Redesdale. ... The Atlantic Monthly (also known as The Atlantic) is an American literary/cultural magazine that was founded in November 1857. ...


Cerf was portrayed in the film Infamous (2006) by Peter Bogdanovich. S.J. Perelman's feuilleton "No Dearth of Mirth, Fill Out the Coupon" describes Perelman's fictionalized encounter with a jokebook publisher named Barnaby Chirp who is a vicious caricature of Cerf. A somewhat less vicious caricature of Cerf, named Harry Hubris and portrayed by Bert Lahr, appears in Perelman's 1962 play The Beauty Part. Infamous (Previously: Have You Heard?; and Every Word Is True USA working title) is a forthcoming film from Warner Independent Pictures, due to be released in September 2006. ... Peter Bogdanovich Serbian Cyrillic Петар Богдановић (born July 30, 1939) is a Serbian-American film director, writer and actor. ... Sidney Joseph Perelman, almost always known as S. J. Perelman (February 1, 1904 – October 17, 1979), was a United States humorist, author, and screenwriter. ... Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion. ...


Cerf died in Mount Kisco, New York on August 27, 1971. His autobiography, entitled At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf, was published posthumously in 1977 by, of course, Random House. Mount Kisco (often spelled Mt. ... // Random House is a publishing house based in New York City. ...


Bibliography

  • Bennett Cerf's Book of Riddles
  • Bennett Cerf's Bumper Crop (2 volume set)
  • Good for a Laugh (1952)
  • Laugh Day (1965)
  • Famous Ghost Stories (anthology, 1944)
  • The Unexpected (anthology, 1948)
  • At Random: The Reminiscences of Bennett Cerf (New York: Random House, 1977, ISBN 0-375-75976-X).
  • Dear Donald, Dear Bennett : the wartime correspondence of Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. (New York: Random House, 2002). ISBN 037550768X.

References

  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent, 95-96. ISBN 0-911682-20-1. 

Author of A Handbook of Science Fiction and Fantasy. ... Advent: Publishers is a publishing house founded by Earl Kemp and other members of the University of Chicago Science Fiction Club in 1956, to publish criticism, history, and bibliography of the science fiction field, beginning with James Blishs The Issue at Hand. ...

External links

Find A Grave is an online database of seventeen million cemeteries and burial records. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
ICANN | Biographical Data on Vinton G. Cerf (726 words)
Cerf is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Engineering Consortium, the Computer History Museum and the National Academy of Engineering.
Cerf is a recipient of numerous awards and commendations in connection with his work on the Internet.
Cerf and his wife Sigrid were married in 1966 and have two sons, David and Bennett.
Bennett Cerf Summary (2435 words)
Cerf's college education was interrupted by World War I. After the United States became involved in the conflict, Cerf enlisted in the Army and was stationed at Camp Lee in Virginia.
Bennett Cerf was born and brought up in New York City, where he attended the same public school as Richard Rodgers and Richard Simon.
Cerf was married in 1936 to actress Sylvia Sidney, but the couple soon divorced.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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