Arzner, Dorothy

Arzner, Dorothy

(1900–79) director, scriptwriter; born in San Francisco. After working on a newspaper, she was hired as a stenographer at Famous Players, rising to the positions of film editor and scriptwriter. Her work was so good that she was promoted to director, making her debut with Fashions for Women (1927). She became Hollywood's only female director of the 1930s, directing 15 more movies until 1943; during World War II she made training films for the Women's Army Corps. She was never allowed to direct again and it was not until the 1980s that her pioneering role was recognized.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.