Jerome Lawrence & Robert Lee
“Bert, whenever you see something bright, shining, perfect-seeming – all gold with purple spots – look behind the paint! And if it’s a lie – show it up for what it really is!”
– Drummond in Inherit the Wind
“Almost if not all of our plays share the theme of the dignity of every individual mind, and that [is] mind’s life-long battle against limitation and censorship.” – Jerome Lawrence, in Studies in American Drama, 1945- Present
“Write with a spade…. And if nothing bugs you, I don’t think you should write.” – Robert E. Lee, Writer’s Digest interview, March 1986
Ohioans Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee spent their combined half-century careers uncovering truths about life through their works for the stage. The result is that in the world of theater, the names Lawrence and Lee are as inseparable as Rogers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Lowe.
Lawrence and Lee are best known as the team that wrote Inherit the Wind, Auntie Mame and The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. Together they wrote 39 shows for the stage, including 14 Broadway productions, over and above an award-studded body of work that includes radio drama, screenplays, television shows and books.
Though both Ohio natives, Lawrence and Lee never met in Ohio. The pair met in New York, when Lawrence was a writer for CBS radio and Lee was a writer at the Young and Rubicam Agency, a month after WWII’s Pearl Harbor attack. They entered the Army together in 1942 and were among the founding group of the Armed Forces Radio Service.