Cornelia Otis Skinner

Cornelia Otis Skinner
Cornelia Otis Skinner
Born May 30, 1899(1899-05-30)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died July 9, 1979(1979-07-09) (aged 80)
New York, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, screenwriter
Parents Otis Skinner
Maud Durbin

Cornelia Otis Skinner (May 30, 1899 – July 9, 1979) was an American author and actress.



Skinner was the daughter of the actor Otis Skinner and his wife Maud (Durbin) Skinner. After attending the all-girls' Baldwin School and Bryn Mawr College (1918–1919) and studying theatre at the Sorbonne in Paris, she began her career on the stage in 1921. She appeared in several plays before embarking on a tour of the United States from 1926 to 1929 in a one-woman performance of short character sketches she herself wrote. She wrote numerous short humorous pieces for publications like The New Yorker. These pieces were eventually compiled into a series of books, including Nuts in May, Dithers and Jitters, Excuse It Please!, and The Ape In Me, among others.

With Emily Kimbrough, she wrote Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, a hilarious description of their European tour after college. Kimbrough and Skinner went to Hollywood to act as consultants on the film version of the book, which resulted in We Followed Our Hearts to Hollywood. Skinner was portrayed by Bethel Leslie in the short-lived 1950 television series The Girls based upon Our Hearts Were Young and Gay.

In 1952, her one-woman show Paris '90 (music and lyrics by Kay Swift) premiered on Broadway. An original cast recording was produced by Goddard Lieberson for Columbia Records, now available on compact disk. In later years Skinner wrote Madame Sarah (a biography of Sarah Bernhardt) and Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals about the Belle Epoque. She also appeared with Orson Welles on The Campbell Playhouse radio play of The Things We Have on May 26, 1939.[citation needed]

In a 1944 conversation with Victor Borge, Skinner reportedly told the Danish comedian that she decided to drop the term “diseuse" from her act after reading in a Scottish newspaper: “Cornelia Otis Skinner, the American disease, gave a program last night.” [1]


As an actress

  • Kismet (1920)
  • The Things We Have (1939)
  • The Uninvited (1944)
  • General Electric Guest House (1951), episode dated 1 July 1951 (TV Episode)
  • Paris '90 (1952)
  • The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955)
  • Max Liebman Presents: Dearest Enemy (1955) (TV Episode)
  • The Alcoa Hour (1956), "Merry Christmas Mr. Baxter" (TV episode)
  • The Swimmer (1968)

As herself

  • Stage Door Canteen (1943)
  • Toast of the Town (later The Ed Sullivan Show) TV episodes #4.7 (1950), #4.14 (1950), #5.32 (1952), and #7.8 (1953)
  • What's It For? (1957) TV episode dated 12 October 1957
  • What's My Line? (1959) TV episode dated 29 March 1959
  • This Is Your Life (1959) Charlie Ruggles (TV episode)


Novels and biographies

  • Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (with Emily Kimbrough, 1942) Dodd, Mead and Company Inc.
  • Family Circle (1948) - an autobiographical work. Entitled Happy Family in the UK.
  • Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals (1962) - a book about the Belle Epoque in Paris.
  • Madame Sarah (1967) - a biography of Sarah Bernhardt.
  • Life with Lindsay and Crouse (1976) - a biography of Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse.

Essay compilations

  • Tiny Garments (1932)
  • Excuse It, Please! (1936)
  • Dithers and Jitters (1937)
  • Soap Behind the Ears (1941)
  • That's Me All Over (1948) - a collection of the best essays from the prior 4 compilations.
  • Nuts in May (1950)
  • Bottoms Up! (1955) Dodd, Mead, and Company, New York
  • The Ape in Me (1959)

Playwriting, screenwriting, scriptwriting


  • The Wives of Henry VIII (1931)
  • The Empress Eugenie (1932)
  • The Loves of Charles II (1933)
  • The Mansion on the Hudson (1935)


  • Skinner, Cornelia Otis (7 January 1950). "Those friends of his". The New Yorker 25 (46): 27–29.  Humorous autobiographical piece.


  1. ^ Salt Lake Tribune, June 2, 1944, p. 14

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cornelia Otis Skinner — Cornelia Otis Skinner, née le 30 mai 1899[1] à Chicago (Illinois), morte le 9 juillet 1979 à New York, est une actrice et femme de lettres américaine. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Filmographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cornelia Otis Skinner — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Cornelia Otis Skinner (Chicago, Illinois, Estados Unidos, 30 de mayo de 1901 Nueva York, Nueva York, Estados Unidos, 9 de julio de 1979) fue una actriz y escritora estadounidense. Era hija del actor Otis Skinner y su …   Wikipedia Español

  • Cornelia Otis Skinner — noun United States actress noted for her one woman shows (1901 1979) • Syn: ↑Skinner • Instance Hypernyms: ↑actress …   Useful english dictionary

  • Otis Skinner — Born June 28, 1858(1858 06 28) Cambridge, Massachusetts Died January 4, 1942(1942 01 04) (aged 83) New York City, New York …   Wikipedia

  • Otis Skinner — est un acteur américain né le 28 juin 1858 à Cambridge (Massachusetts), États Unis et décédé le 4 janvier 1942 à New York City, New York. Il est le frère cadet de l écrivain Charles Montgomery Skinner (1852 1907) et le père de l actrice Cornelia… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Skinner, Cornelia Otis — (1901 1979)    Born in Chicago, the daughter of actor Otis Skinner, Cornelia Otis Skinner was educated at Bryn Mawr before joining her father in his production of Blood and Sand (1921). She appeared in many plays, including Will Shakespeare… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Skinner,Cornelia Otis — Skinner, Cornelia Otis. 1901 1979. American actress and writer known for her one woman shows, which she wrote and produced. * * * …   Universalium

  • Skinner, Cornelia Otis — born May 30, 1901, Chicago, Ill., U.S. died July 9, 1979, New York, N.Y. U.S. actress and writer. She made her stage debut in Blood and Sand (1921) with her actor father, Otis Skinner, who also collaborated on her first play, Captain Fury (1925) …   Universalium

  • Skinner, Cornelia Otis — (30 may. 1901, Chicago, Ill., EE.UU.–9 jul. 1979, Nueva York, N.Y.). Actriz y escritora estadounidense. Debutó en el teatro con Sangre y arena (1921) junto a su padre, el actor Otis Skinner, quien además colaboró en la creación de su primera obra …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Cornelia — Gender Female Origin Word/Name Latin Other names Related names Cornelius Cornelia is a feminine given name. It is a feminine form of the name Cornelius. Nel or Nelly can …   Wikipedia

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