Robert Charles Benchley (September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945) was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor. From his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, through his many years writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and his acclaimed short films, Benchley's style of humor brought him respect and success during his life, from New York City and his peers at the Algonquin Round Table to contemporaries in the burgeoning film industry.
Benchley is best remembered for his contributions to The New Yorker, where his essays, whether topical or absurdist, influenced many modern humorists.
Robert Benchley was born on September 15, 1889 in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Charles and Maria Benchley.
He was the great-grandchild of the founder of Benchley, Texas, Henry Wetherby Benchley, who was jailed for his help with the Underground Railroad.
Robert Benchley met Gertrude Darling in high school in Worcester. They became engaged during his senior year at Harvard, and they married in June 1914. Their first child, Nathaniel Benchley, was born a year later. A second son, Robert Benchley, Jr., was born in 1919.
Benchley died in a New York hospital on November 21, 1945.
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