Don Marquis

Don Marquis books and biography

Don Marquis

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Don Marquis (July 29, 1878 - December 29, 1937) was an American poet, artist, newspaper columnist, humorist, playwright and author; best known for creating the characters "Archy" and "Mehitabel". Archy was a cockroach who left poems on Marquis's typewriter by jumping on the keys, and Mehitabel, a cat, was Archy's best friend. Additional friends of Archy and Mehitabel include Pete the Pup and Warty Bliggins.

Donald Robert Perry Marquis (pronounced "mark' wis", not "mar kee") was born July 29, 1878, in Walnut, Illinois. His brother, David, died in 1892 at the age of 20, followed by his father James' death in 1897. After graduating Walnut high school in 1894, he attended Knox College Academy in 1896, but left after three months.

He married Reina Melcher on June 8, 1909, with whom he had two children: a son, Robert Marquis (November 7, 1915 - 1921); and a daughter, Barbara Marquis (October, 1918 - October, 1931). Don and Reina were wed until she died on December 2, 1923. Three years later he married Marjorie Potts Vonnegut on February 2. 1926, and remained married to her until her death on October 25, 1936. He suffered three disabling strokes during his life, and died of a fourth stroke on December 29, 1937.

He co-wrote (or contributed posthumously) to the films The Sports Pages, Shinbone Alley, The Good Old Soak, and Skippy.(The 1926 film "The Cruise of the Jasper B" was supposedly based on his 1916 novel, although the plots have little in common.) He also wrote a play called The Old Soak, drew cartoons for The New Yorker, contributed regular columns to the New York Sun and the Saturday Evening Post and in all wrote about 35 books.

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