Heywood Campbell Broun was an American journalist, sportswriter
and newspaper columnist and editor in New York City. He founded
the American Newspaper Guild, now known as The Newspaper Guild.
In 1917 Broun married writer-editor Ruth Hale, a feminist and
founder of the Lucy Stone League, an organization that fought
for women to keep their maiden names after marriage. They had
one son, Heywood Hale Broun.
in Brooklyn, New York, he is best remembered for his writing on
social issues and his championing of the underdog. He believed
that journalists could help right wrongs, especially social ills.
with his friends the critic Alexander Woollcott, writer Dorothy
Parker and humorist Robert Benchley, Broun was a member of the
famed Algonquin Round Table from 1919-1929. He was also close
friends with the Marx Brothers, and attended their show The Cocoanuts
more than 20 times. Broun joked that his tombstone would read,
"killed by getting in the way of some scene shifters at a
Marx Brothers show."
professional career began writing baseball stories in the sports
section of the New York Morning Telegraph. He worked at the New
York Tribune from 1912—1921 rising to drama critic before
transferring to the New York World (1921–28). It was at
the World where his syndicated column, It Seems to Me, began.
In 1928 he moved to the Scripps-Howard newspapers, including the
New York World-Telegram, where it appeared until he moved it to
the New York Post just before his death.
was fairly decent drama critic. However, he once classified Geoffrey
Steyne as the worst actor on the American stage. Steyne sued Broun,
but a judge threw the case out. The next time Broun reviewed a
production with Steyne in the cast, he left the actor out of the
review. However, in the final sentence, he wrote, "Mr. Steyne's
performance was not up to its usual standard."
1930, Broun ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Socialist. A
slogan of Broun's was "I'd rather be right than Roosevelt."
died of pneumonia at age 51 in New York City. More than 3,000
mourners attended his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Among
them were New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, columnist Franklin
Pierce Adams, actor-director George M. Cohan, playwright-director
George S. Kaufman, New York World editor Herbert Bayard Swope,
columnist Walter Winchell and actress Tallulah Bankhead.
is buried in the Cemetery of the Gate of Heaven in Hawthorne,
New York (about 25 miles north of New York City).
Newspaper Guild sponsors an annual Heywood Broun Award for outstanding
work by a journalist, especially work that helps correct an injustice.