Zoￃﾫ Akins (October 30, 1886 ￢ﾀﾓ October 29, 1958) was a
Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, poet, and author.
In the early 1930s, Akins became more active in film,
writing several screenplays as well as licensing minor adaptations of her
work￢ﾀﾔsuch as The Greeks Had a Word for It which was adapted twice, in 1932 (as
The Greeks Had a Word for Them) and 1938 (as Three Blind Mice) ￢ﾀﾓ neither was a
hit. Two highlights of this period are the films Sarah and Son (1930) and
Morning Glory (1933), the latter film remade as Stage Struck. While both films
earned their respective female leads (Ruth Chatterton and Katharine Hepburn)
Academy Award nominations, neither was enough to launch Akins' career.
Finally, Akins received recognition. In 1935, she was
awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her dramatization of Edith Wharton's
The Old Maid, a melodrama set in New York City and written in five episodes
stretching across time from 1839 to 1854. A film version of The Old Maid
followed in 1939, starring Bette Davis.
Akins also adapted the Alexandre Dumas novel, La dame aux
camￃﾩlias which was adapted into the film Camille in 1936. The film starred Greta
Garbo, Robert Taylor, and Lionel Barrymore, and earned Garbo her third Oscar
To Akins' surprise, she was thrust into notoriety again in
1953, when Jean Negulesco directed an adaptation of The Greeks Had a Word for
It. The film, titled How to Marry a Millionaire, became a box office sensation
and helped launch the career of its star, Marilyn Monroe. Monroe's role in the
Akins' play helped the rising star become a cultural icon, and encouraged Akins
to pursue a short stint as a writer for several television variety programs.