Frederica Sagor Maas passed away on January 5, 2012. Maas was one of the first female screenwriters in the early days of Hollywood and was one of the last people to have direct experience with the silent film era. In 1923, she moved from New York to Hollywood to pursue a career in screenwriting. Her first work in Hollywood was on the script of Plastic Girl, a film that starred “It” girl, Clara Bow. Maas continued to work on a number of scripts, although the credit for her work is normally overlooked as the work of other writers. In 1927, she married producer and fellow writer Earnest Maas. Their careers were riddled with ups and downs of classic Hollywood. The Maas’ continued to work on scripts, in varying capacities, until they eventually left Hollywood for good. After their time in Hollywood, Maas worked in an insurance agency and was quite successful. Her husband continued to work as a ghost writer and freelancer until he died in 1986, at the age of 94.
At the age of 99, Maas published her autobiography, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim: A Writer in Early Hollywood (1999.) Maas’ memoir offers a unique perspective on the film industry and Hollywood culture in their early days and illuminates the plight of Hollywood writers working within the studio system. From salon.com:
“A bittersweet, extraordinarily detailed recollection of Maas’s 30-year career in the motion picture industry. . . . Chockablock with anecdotes, and a blinding amount of star-wattage to boot.”