Vera Caspary wrote novels and screenplays featuring strong, complex women who were never simply villains or victims. Caspary worked as a copywriter and edited Dance Magazine from 1925–1927 before publishing her first two novels in 1929, Ladies and Gents and The White Girl, which was highly praised for its portrayal of a black woman who moves to Chicago and passes as white. While Caspary earned a reputation for nuanced, original characters, she was unafraid to recycle plots, joking that she reused the plot of her story “Suburb” eight times in different forms. In her prolific career, Caspary wrote twenty-one novels, five plays, an autobiography, a collection of short stories, and countless screenplays. She was best known for her novel Laura, published in 1943, a murder mystery with a complex plot and fully textured characters, praised as the first psychothriller. The 1944 film based on the book and directed by Otto Preminger was a runaway success, but Caspary had sold the rights for a pittance and had no share in the film’s profits. She did earn awards from the Screenwriters Guild in 1948 for A Letter to Three Wives and in 1967 for Les Girls.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Vera Caspary." (Viewed on February 5, 2016) <http://jwa.org/people/caspary-vera>.