Ben Hecht (; 1894–1964) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. Called "the Shakespeare of Hollywood", he received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films and as a prolific storyteller, authored thirty-five books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. Film historian Richard Corliss called him "the Hollywood screenwriter", someone who "personified Hollywood itself." The Dictionary of Literary Biography - American Screenwriters calls him "one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of motion pictures." Born in Brooklyn, his family moved to Wisconsin. At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where in his own words he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops" and "tasted more than any fit belly could hold". In the 1910s and early 20s, Hecht became a noted journalist, foreign correspondent, and literary figure.