Thornton Niven Wilder (1897 – 1975) was an American author and playwright. He is best known for his play Our Town (1938) – Pulitzer Prize. Some of his novels include The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) – Pulitzer Prize, The Woman of Andros (1930), Heaven's My Destination (1935) and Ides of March (1948).
Life and works
Wilder was born April 17, 1897, in Madison, Wisconsin. He spent some of his childhood in China, but left due to unstable political conditions, and was educated in California. He graduated from Berkeley High School and attended Oberlin College, Yale University, the American Academy in Rome, and Princeton University, and served in World War One. During his education, he wrote a novel, Cabala (1926), and a play, The Trumpet Shall Sound, but The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) was his first successful novel. He translated from foreign plays in the 1930s, but became very successful with the play Our Town (1938), about searching a small town for universal truths. He also wrote The Merchant of Yonkers, a flop, revised it into The Matchmaker, another flop, and let someone else write it as the wildly successful musical, Hello, Dolly!. His later works include the Pulitzer Prize winning play The Skin of Our Teeth (1943), the less successful plays A Life in the Sun (1955), Someone from Assisi (1962), Infancy (1962), and Childhood (1962), and the novels The Woman of Andros (1930), Heaven's My Destination (1934), The Ides of March (1948), The Eighth Day (1967), and Theophilus North (1973).
He died of a heart attack on December 7, 1975.
- "Wilder, Thornton." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.