Lee Arthur

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Arthur Lee Kahn
pen name: Lee Arthur​​

(Broadway and early motion picture playwright)

Born July 14, 1870​​
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA​​​
Died ​December 19, 1917 (aged 47)​
Los Angeles, California

Resting place:
Hebrew Rest Cemetery in Shreveport

Religion Jewish

​ Aaron and Julia Sour Kahn
Alma mater:
​ Thatcher Academy
Tulane University School of Law

Arthur Lee Kahn, pen name, Lee Arthur (July 14, 1870 – December 9, 1917), was a Broadway and early motion-picture playwright.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, he was a son of the merchant Aaron Kahn (1838-1918) and the former Julia Sour (1851-1899).[1] Arthur studied at Thatcher Academy in Shreveport and received a law degree in 1891 from Tulane University in New Orleans. At Tulane, he penned his first play, Double Wedding (1890) and continued writing, 1891-1893, while practicing law in Shreveport. In 1893, he left his law practice for a year to travel with a theatre group, the Clay Clements Company. He then began his career as Lee Arthur, the playwright. In 1896, his play, While the Cat’s Away, was produced by director Henry W. Savage at the Bayou Theatre on Broadway. For twenty years, Arthur’s plays were produced on Broadway and in theatres across the country. Among the best known are Pvt. John Allen, which opened in 1898 in Washington, D.C., We-Uns of Tennessee, which opened at the American Theatre in New York in 1900, and his most popular play, The Auctioneer,[2] which opened in 1913 at the Belasco Theatre in New York and was still playing on Broadway into the 1920s, after Arthur's death.[3]

In 1910, he began writing film scripts, first with the Keystone Company and later with the Balboa Company. He wrote slapstick, situation comedies, and melodramas. In 1917, he sustained serious injuries in an automobile accident in 1917 and while he recovering contracted pneumonia, which took his life at the age of forty-seven. He died in Los Angeles, California, and is interred alongside his parents at Hebrew Rest Cemetery in Shreveport.[4][2] His father died some six months after Arthur's death.


  1. Aaron Kahn. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kahn, Arthur Lee (pen name Lee Arthur). A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on April 30, 2020.
  3. Paul T. Nolan, ed., The One Act Plays of Lee Arthur (1962).
  4. Shreveport Journal December 17, 1917.