Frederica Sagor Maas dies at 111; silent film screenwriter.
Her 1925 script for "The Plastic Age" launched the career Clara Bow. She wrote numerous scripts during the silent era, including movies starring Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer with whom she became friends. But she felt badly treated by Hollywood, her scripts stolen, plagiarized or bowdlerized. She was also blacklisted, wrongly accused of being a communist. Broke and dispirited, she and her husband contemplated suicide. But she survived, and went on to write a highly critical book about early Hollywood, where she dished on many famous figures.
'At 20, she was hired as assistant story editor at Universal Pictures in New York. When the bosses she later called "chauvinistic honchos" refused to help her become a screenwriter, she left for Hollywood. She was 23.
Film school was the movie theater, where she watched current releases over and over to understand the "rhythm of the scenes," she told National Public Radio in 1999.'
'Many of the screenplays she and her husband wrote between 1938 and 1950 were never produced. Hopeless, humiliated and having little money, the couple drove to a hilltop overlooking Hollywood with the intention of committing suicide in their Plymouth. Clutching each other, they started sobbing and realized that "none of these things mattered. We had each other," wrote Maas, who had no children. Her husband died in 1986.
She eventually became an insurance adjuster and said if she had it to do over again, she would "be a wash lady."'
'For Maas, living an exceedingly long life was the best revenge.
"It's my only consolation to think, 'All you lousy so-and-sos are all 20 feet under, and I'm still here.' It's a satisfaction, but not a great satisfaction," she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999.'