Jane Murfin (October 27, 1884 – August 10, 1955) was an American playwright and screenwriter. The author of several successful plays, she wrote some of them with actress Jane Cowl—most notably Smilin' Through (1919), a sentimental fantasy that was adapted three times for motion pictures. In Hollywood Murfin became a popular screenwriter whose credits include What Price Hollywood? (1932), for which she received an Academy Award nomination. In the 1920s she lived with Laurence Trimble, writing and producing films for their dog Strongheart, the first major canine star.
Jane Murfin in 1923
October 27, 1884
Quincy, Michigan, United States
|Died||August 10, 1955 70) (aged|
California, United States
|Occupation||Playwright, screenwriter, producer, director|
(m. 1907; div. 1912)
(m. 1932; div. 1944)
|Partner(s)||Laurence Trimble (c. 1920–1925)|
Life and career
Jane Macklem was born October 27, 1884, in Quincy, Michigan. In 1907 she married attorney James Murfin, and retained his surname when the marriage ended fewer than five years later.
Murfin began her career with the play Lilac Time, which she co-wrote with actress Jane Cowl. The Broadway production opened February 6, 1917, and ran for 176 performances. Later that year the two women began collaborating, often under pseudonym Allan Langdon Martin, on a series of revivals of World War I melodramas. The pair later collaborated on Daybreak, followed by Information Please (1918) and Smilin' Through (1919).
In 1920, director Laurence Trimble persuaded Murfin to purchase a German Shepherd dog—Strongheart—that became the first major canine film star. Strongheart starred in four films that Trimble directed from Murfin's screenplays: The Silent Call (1921), Brawn of the North (1922), The Love Master (1924) and White Fang (1925).
Murfin is credited with directing one film, Flapper Wives (1924), before the dissolution of her partnership with Trimble. Film historian Kevin Brownlow described this partnership as both professional and personal; although some sources describe Trimble and Murfin as a husband-and-wife filmmaking team, no marriage has been substantiated.
Murfin's later screenwriting credits include Way Back Home (1931), Our Betters (1933), The Little Minister (1934), Spitfire (1934), Roberta (1935), Alice Adams (1935), The Women (1939), Pride and Prejudice (1940), and Dragon Seed (1944).
Murfin was married to director and actor Donald Crisp from 1932 until 1944.
She is buried near Jane Cowl at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.
Murfin was married first to lawyer James Murfin from 1907 to 1912. Her second marriage was to actor Donald Crisp, for whom she would write parts in her scripts; the marriage lasted from 1932 to 1944.
|February 6 – July 1917||Lilac Time||Theatre Republic, New York City; written with Jane Cowl|
Basis for the 1928 film
|August 14 – October 1917||Daybreak||Harris Theatre, New York City; written with Jane Cowl|
Basis for the 1918 film
|October 2 – November 1918||Information Please||Selwyn Theatre, New York City|
Basis for the film A Temperamental Wife (1919)
|December 30, 1919 – May 1920||Smilin' Through||Broadhurst Theatre, New York City; written with Jane Cowl, as Allan Langdon Martin|
Basis for film adaptations in 1922, 1932 and 1941
|October 21 – November 1929||Stripped||Ambassador Theatre, New York City|
Murfin is credited as a writer; additional production credits are noted.
- Buck, Julie (September 27, 2013). "Jane Murfin". Women Film Pioneers Project. Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, Columbia University Libraries. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
- "Jane Murfin". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- "Jane Murfin – Women Film Pioneers Project". wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Katz, Ephraim (1998). Klein, Fred; Nolen, Ronald Dean (eds.). The Film Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 990. ISBN 0-06-273492-X.
- Trimble, Laurence (1926). Strongheart; The Story of a Wonder Dog. Racine, Wis.: Whitman Publishing Company. OCLC 4451141.
- "Laurence Trimble Dies". The New York Times. February 10, 1954. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- "Dog Hero of Films Dies". The New York Times. June 25, 1929. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- "Strongheart". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- "Flapper Wives". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Mordaunt Hall (February 24, 1933). "Constance Bennett, Violet Kemble-Cooper and Grant Mitchell in a Film of a Somerset Maugham Play". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- "Jane Murfin". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Jane Murfin at Find a Grave
- The Detroit Times June 4, 1914 LAST EDITION, Page 2..retrieved July 31, 2019
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