Woollcott, Alexander (Humphreys).
Woollcott, Alexander (Humphreys) (b. Jan. 19, 1887, Phalanx, N.J., U.S.--d. Jan. 23, 1943, New York, N.Y.)
American author, critic, and actor known for his acerbic wit. He was the self-appointed leader of the Algonquin Round Table, an informal luncheon club at New York City's Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s and '30s.
After graduating from Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., in 1909, Woollcott joined the staff of The New York Times as cub reporter and succeeded to the post of drama critic in 1914. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army, reporting for The Stars and Stripes, he returned to the Times and subsequently worked for the New York Herald and the New York World. He also wrote for The New Yorker , and beginning in 1929 he appeared on radio, establishing a nationwide reputation as raconteur, gossip, conversationalist, wit, and man-about-town. As a literary critic Woollcott wielded great influence. He was the author of Mrs. Fiske, Her Views on Actors, Acting, and the Problems of Production (1917), Two Gentlemen and a Lady (1928), and While Rome Burns (1934) and the publisher of two anthologies, The Woollcott Reader (1935) and Woollcott's Second Reader (1937).