Leo Rosten

Leo Rosten - Humorist, Facts and Personal Life

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Leo Rosten's Personal Details

Famous for crafting Yiddish lexicon, Leo Rosten is well known for acquainting Americans with the Jewish culture and language

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 11, 1908
Died onFebruary 19, 1997
NationalityAmerican
FamousLondon School Of Economics (LSE), University Of Chicago, Writers, Humorist
SpousesPriscilla Mead (m. 1935–1959)
ChildrensMadeline Rosten, Margaret Ramsey Rosten, Philip Rosten
Universities
  • London School Of Economics,University Of Chicago
  • London School of Economics
  • University of Chicago
Notable Alumnis
  • London School Of Economics
  • University Of Chicago
Birth PlaceŁódź
ReligionJewish
GenderMale
FatherSamuel C. Rosenberg
MotherIda Rosenberg
Sun SignAries
Born inŁódź
Famous asAmerican humorist
Died at Age88

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Leo Rosten's photo

Who is Leo Rosten?

Leo Calvin Rosten was a Polish-born American author, teacher and researcher. He is branded as a comedian in the sphere of screenwriting, stories, journalism and lexicography of Yiddish, a standard German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin. He was a language connoisseur who familiarized Americans with terms and expressions of a different lingo. He brought into light the distinctive Jewish culture, their concepts and beliefs through his work in Yiddish; and how it has augmented the present day English. Through his writings, he reflected the nuance world of meanings profoundly buried within a tale, joke, idiom or other modulations related to it. His writings never failed to reveal his humoristic approach. He was a voracious reader with a broad array of intellect. He is best-known for his stories about the night school ‘prodigy’ Hyman Kaplan, written under the pseudonym Leonard Q. Ross and his encyclopedic ‘The joys of Yiddish’, is full of Jewish anecdotes and humor. His witty style of writing is quite apparent in critically acclaimed ’Hyman Kaplan’ which has been compared to the comic characters of Dickens and Shakespeare by the critics. It is one of the most-read classic works of American humor.

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Childhood & Early Life

Rosten was born into a Yiddish-speaking family in Lodz, Poland to a trade unionist couple, Samuel C. Rosenberg and Ida Freundlich Rosenberg. They immigrated to Chicago, USA when he was just three.

Raised in Chicago, he grew up in a working-class Jewish milieu where both English and Yiddish were spoken. Books and language fascinated him since childhood, and he began writing stories when he was just nine.

In 1930, he graduated from the University of Chicago and received his doctorate from the same institution in 1937. He completed his post graduation from the London School of Economics.

Career

Unable to find work during the Great Depression, he taught English for recent immigrants at night, which later became a source of inspiration for his most famous work ‘Hyman Kaplan’.

He held a series of wartime government positions including deputy director of the Office of War Information and chief of the office of War Information’s motion pictures division.

In late 1940s, he worked for the Rand Corporation, a non-profit institution offering research and analysis to the United States armed forces.

In 1949, he joined the staff of ‘Look’ magazine in New York where he worked till 1971.

He also taught at Yale University, Columbia and the New School of Social Research, New York City. He was a visiting professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley in 1960.

Major Works

He wrote many fiction and nonfiction throughout his career, but was best known for his book “The Education of H Y M A N K A P L A N, inspired by a former night-school student from his own teaching days. It was published in 1937 under the pseudonym Leonard Q. Ross and inspired one of the most unforgettable comic characters of 20th century fiction. However, its two sequels, ‘The Return of H Y M A N K A P L A N (1950)' and O K A P L A N! My K A P L A N! (1976) were not received well in literary circles.

He is also popular for his other work ‘The Joys of Yiddish’, which was published in 1968. It is an abounding glossary of Yiddish, Hebrew and Yinglish words encountered in English. It also gives a sneak peek at Jewish culture including habits, holidays, history, ceremonies, folklore, cuisines et cetera. It was later expanded to ‘The Joys of Yinglish’ in 1989.

He was an excellent screenwriter of numerous screenplays, including ‘The Dark Corner’, a film noir starring Mark Stevens; ‘Lured’, featuring Lucille Ball; ‘Captain Newman, M.D.’, ‘Mechanized Patrolling’, ‘They got me covered’, ‘The velvet touch’, ‘All through the night’, ‘The Conspirators’, ‘Sleep, My Love’, ‘Double Dynamite’, ‘Walk east on beacon’, and ‘Mister Cory’.

Awards & Achievements

In 1938, ‘the education of H Y M A N K A P L A N’ was a close second for one U.S. National Book Award. ‘The return of H Y M A N K A P L A N’ was one of eighteen "National Book Awards for Fiction" finalists in 1960. In the same year, he largely influenced the formation of Social Sciences division of Rand Corporation.

He was also the recipient of ‘Rockefeller Foundation Grant’ (1940), ‘Freedom Foundation Award’ (1955) and the George Polk Memorial Award in the same year.

Personal Life

He married Priscilla Ann ‘Pam’ Mead, a fellow graduate student at University of Chicago in March 1935. The marriage ended in divorce in 1959. He is survived by two daughters, one son from this marriage.

On January 5, 1960, he married Gertrude Zimmerman, who passed away in 1995.

Trivia

He was the one and only 20th century writer who always wrote his stories in Yiddish.

He loved reading English books and wearing English clothes. Apart from this, he was a part of London theatrical circle and an active member of many gentlemen’s clubs in London.

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Leo Rosten biography timelines

  • // 11th Apr 1908
    Rosten was born into a Yiddish-speaking family in Lodz, Poland to a trade unionist couple, Samuel C. Rosenberg and Ida Freundlich Rosenberg. They immigrated to Chicago, USA when he was just three.
  • // 1930
    In 1930, he graduated from the University of Chicago and received his doctorate from the same institution in 1937. He completed his post graduation from the London School of Economics.

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Leo Rosten's FAQ

  • What is Leo Rosten birthday?

    Leo Rosten was born at 1908-04-11

  • When was Leo Rosten died?

    Leo Rosten was died at 1997-02-19

  • Where was Leo Rosten died?

    Leo Rosten was died in New York City

  • Which age was Leo Rosten died?

    Leo Rosten was died at age 88

  • Where is Leo Rosten's birth place?

    Leo Rosten was born in Łódź

  • What is Leo Rosten nationalities?

    Leo Rosten's nationalities is American

  • Who is Leo Rosten spouses?

    Leo Rosten's spouses is Priscilla Mead (m. 1935–1959)

  • Who is Leo Rosten childrens?

    Leo Rosten's childrens is Madeline Rosten, Margaret Ramsey Rosten, Philip Rosten

  • What was Leo Rosten universities?

    Leo Rosten studied at London School Of Economics,University Of Chicago, London School of Economics, University of Chicago

  • What was Leo Rosten notable alumnis?

    Leo Rosten's notable alumnis is London School Of Economics, University Of Chicago

  • What is Leo Rosten's religion?

    Leo Rosten's religion is Jewish

  • Who is Leo Rosten's father?

    Leo Rosten's father is Samuel C. Rosenberg

  • Who is Leo Rosten's mother?

    Leo Rosten's mother is Ida Rosenberg

  • What is Leo Rosten's sun sign?

    Leo Rosten is Aries

  • How famous is Leo Rosten?

    Leo Rosten is famouse as American humorist