Saturday, January 7, 2012

Frederica Sagor Maas, 1900-2012

One of the last links -- and almost certainly the last adult link -- to silent cinema, has died. Frederica Sagor Maas, who started as a story editor at the New York branch of Universal back in 1920, was 111 years old.

Maas fairly quickly made her way to Hollywood, where she wound up at MGM, probably most notably writing the screenplay for Greta Garbo's Flesh and the Devil. Hollywood, however, turned out not so well for her and her eventual husband, as they found Hollywood doing all sorts of things to their scripts that the two of them didn't write. This eventually forced the couple back to New York in the 1930s. Maas wrote one more screenplay about the tribulations of pioneering working women, but that turned out just as bad for her when Fox took it and turned it into a light musical comedy, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim. (That movie, to be fair, isn't particularly bad; it's just nothing at all like how Maas would have wanted her screenplay to turn out.)

Maas got the last laugh, however, as she outlived everybody she worked with and wrote her memoirs, which were published when she was 99 years old.

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