Biography of Irving Brecher
Irving Brecher (January 17, 1914 – November 17, 2008) was a screenwriter who wrote for the Marx Brothers; he was the only writer to get sole credit on a Marx Brothers film including At the Circus in 1939 and Go West in 1940. He was also one of the numerous uncredited writers on the screenplay of 1939's The Wizard of Oz. Some of his other screenplays were Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), Ziegfeld Follies (1946) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963).
He created, produced, and was head writer for the original radio and early TV edition of The Life of Riley. He later created and co-produced The People's Choice as well.
Adapting Nathaniel Benchley's novel, he wrote the screenplay for, and directed Sail A Crooked Ship starring Ernie Kovacs and a young Robert Wagner.
He received an Academy Award nomination in 1944 for his screenplay of Meet Me in St Louis.
As an aspiring young comedy writer, Brecher famously placed an ad in Variety looking for work, promising he could write "jokes so bad, even Milton Berle wouldn't steal them." He was promptly hired by Berle himself.
Brecher sometimes filled in for Groucho in Marx Brothers publicity photos, despite the almost 25-year age difference.
His memoirs, The Wicked Wit of the West: The last great Golden-Age screenwriter shares the hilarity and heartaches of working with Groucho, Garland, Gleason, Burns, Berle, Benny & many more, was published posthumously in January 2009 by Ben Yehuda Press.