Dorothy Parker was born into a very wealthy family in the West End village of Long Branch New Jersey on August 22, 1893. She was the youngest of four children. Her parents were Jacob Henry Rothschild and Annie Eliza Maston. A month before she turned five in July 1898, her mother passed away due to illness. Two years later after the passing of her mother, Dorothy’s father fell in love once more and married Eleanor Francis Lewis in January of 1900. While being raised by her father and stepmother, Dorothy never learned to love her stepmother and absolutely refused to even call her mother or stepmother. She only referred to her as Mrs. Rothschild or “the housekeeper”. She made life very difficult for her father and stepmother. Her childhood was an unhappy one. She attended the Roman Catholic Academy Elementary School for a while and then stopped her education at about age 13. When Dorothy was nine yeas old, her stepmother also died. She would be followed in death by her father on December 28, 1913. Dorothy was then about 20 years old. Before the death of her father, she also experienced the passing of her brother Henry aboard the Titanic, which sank in 1912
Following the death of her father in 1913, Dorothy, a highly intelligent you woman, moved to New York City where she started her magnificent writings during the day and played the piano at night in a dancing school to support herself. A year later in 1914, Dorothy sold her first poem to Vanity Fair magazine. Some time in 1915, she was offered a very prominent job working for Vogue magazine as an editorial assistant. While working there, she continued to write poems for newspapers and magazines. In 1917, she changed companies and decided to work for Vanity Fair magazine as a staff writer. In that same year of 1917, she met a young man named Edwin Pond Parker who was a stockbroker. She immediately fell in love with Eddie and decided to marry him after a very short period of courtship. Not long after they were married. Eddie was shipped overseas for World War I.
In 1919, Dorothy Parker was invited to the Algonquin Hotel and met with various well known writers such as Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, James Thurber and many others. This was the beginning of the famous Algonquin Round Table, an intellectual literacy circle where Dorothy was the only female founding member. After the War, Eddie Parker came home from the war but the marriage only lasted a short time mostly due to Dorothy’s big commitment to the Algonquin Round Table and due to her husband’s heavy drinking problem and addiction to morphine drugs. She divorced her husband Edwin P. Parker in 1928 but kept her married name and was known as Dorothy Rotschild Parker. Dorothy spent most of her time in New York City, no longer writing reviews for the Vanity Fair magazine. She started doing theater reviews and spending time with her Algonquin friends.
She continued to publish poems and short stories and won the national O. Henry Prize in 1929 for one of her stories called “Big Blonde”. This was just a debut to her writing career. She later married her second husband, Alan Campbell who was also a writer, in 1934. She was then 40 years old and he was only 29. In 1930, Dorothy took her husband’s advice and moved to Hollywood with him where they started writing screenplays as a team. They became very successful and received screen credits for at least fifteen films for which one of them was called “A star was born” which was nominated for an academy award and received an Oscar for best original story. Hollywood brought her fame, money and a successful career. Nevertheless her drinking addiction, among other spending would have her call some of her friends to help financially. Her relationship with her husband was very complicated. She divorced him in 1947, remarried him again in 1950, separated in 1953, reunited and decided to stay together until his death in 1963. She returned to New York City where she spent the remaining of her life in her New York hotel room. She lived alone and died on June 7, 1967 at age 73. Time magazine dedicated an entire full page to her obituary, which was speculated to be an amazing tribute. Her entire estate was left to Martin Luther King and the NAACP.