Michener Art Museum

Quick Links

Bucks County Artists  ·  Browse the Database

John Wexley

Fiction Writer · Stage & Screen Artist
Born September 14, 1907, New York, New York
Died February 4, 1985, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

John Wexley wrote plays, screenplays, and nonfiction, often dealing with themes with a social message, including prison reform, the criminal mind, and Nazi war crimes. His best known play, The Last Mile (1930), is a prison drama focusing upon the final hours of a condemned man's life and the prison uprising that follows his execution. The play was made into a film twice. Wexley wrote several well known screenplays while working in Hollywood including Angels With Dirty Faces (1938), The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse (1939), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and Hangmen Also Die (1943) As a screenwriter Wexley was known as "the King Maker" because his brilliant scripts launched such unknown actors as Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, and Claude Rains on the road to stardom and starred James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart in some of their best performances. As a result of his position on the executive board of the Screen Writers' Guild and his alleged involvement in "revolutionary theater," Wexley was named as a communist before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Wexley's later work focused on on the trial, conviction, and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1953), who were accused of selling atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Wexley's work on this book caused him to be "gray-listed" by the F.B.I. and the Department of Justice. -
Browse the Database

Browse by Discipline


Browse by Name

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W


Search Art and Artists


Artist Info & Images

Summary

Awards & Appointments

Career

Education & Community

In This Section