Ilka Chase vs. Anonymous Actress? Ilka Chase vs. Humphrey Bogart? Sylvia Strum Bremer vs. Cynic? Liz Carpenter vs. Arthur Schlesinger Jr.? Eric Morecambe vs. Ernie Wise?
Dear Quote Investigator: For many years ghostwriters have been composing books for well-known celebrities. The following prickly repartee shows that authorship is a sensitive topic:
“I enjoyed your book. Who wrote it for you?”
“Thanks. I wrote it myself. Who read it to you?”
Would you please examine the provenance of this banter?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the syndicated gossip column of Walter Winchell in April 1942. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Meow! A catty actress visited the “Now, Voyager” set in H’wood and congratulated Ilka Chase on her recent book. “I enjoyed it,” she said. “Who wrote it?”
“Darling,” clawed Ilka, “I’m so glad you liked it. Who read it to you?”
The book referenced was Chase’s autobiography “Past Imperfect” which was released to reviewers in 1941.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1942 April 29, Richmond Times-Dispatch, On Broadway by Walter Winchell, Quote Page 11, Column 3, Richmond, Virginia. (GenealogyBank) ↩