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Sidney Kingsley Edit Profile

playwright , screenwriter , writer

Sidney Kingsley, American playwright. Named to Theatre Hall of Fame, 1983; recipient Certified of Achievement Cornell University, 1985, Gold Medal for Drama American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1986, William Inge award for lifetime achievement in American theatre Independence (Kansas) Community College, 1988. Member Dramatists Guild (president 1961-1969), New Jersey Motion Picture and television Authority (chairman 1976-1980).


Kingsley, Sidney was born on October 22, 1906 in New York City. Son of Doctor Robert and Sonia (Kirshner) Kingsley.


Student, Townsend Harris Hall, 1920-1924; Bachelor of Arts, Cornell, 1928; Doctor of Literature, Monmouth College, 1978; Doctor of Literature, Ramapo State College, 1978.


He joined the Group Theater for the production of his first major work. In 1933 the company performed his play Men in White. Set in a hospital, the play dealt with the issue of illegal abortion, 1930s medical and surgical practices and the struggle of one promising physician who must choose to dedicate his life to medicine or devote himself to his fiancee.

The play was a box-office smash. Kingsley followed this success with the play Dead End in 1935. A story about slum housing and its connection to crime, the piece was also fairly successful, eventually spawning the Dead End Kids.

The two plays which followed, the anti-war Ten Million Ghosts of 1936 and The World We Make of 1939, were flops and had short runs. But in 1943 Kingsley returned to his previous success with the historical drama The Patriots. Kingsley continued writing for the theater late into his career, adapting Arthur Koestler's novel Darkness at Noon for the stage in 1951, and writing Lunatics and Lovers in 1954 and Night Life in 1962.

In addition to his work for the stage, Kingsley wrote a number of scripts for Hollywood productions, mostly based on his own work. In 1983, Kingsley was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.


  • He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Men in White in 1934. This play, which told the story of Thomas Jefferson and his activities in the young American republic, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.


Member Dramatists Guild (president 1961-1969), New Jersey Motion Picture and television Authority (chairman 1976-1980).


Married Madge Evans, July 25, 1939 (deceased 1981).

Doctor Robert Kingsley

Sonia (Kirshner) Kingsley

Madge Evans