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Golden Boy (play): Wikis


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For other uses, see Golden Boy.

Golden Boy is a play by Clifford Odets. Odets' biggest hit was made into a 1939 film of the same name, starring William Holden in his breakthrough role, and also served as the basis for a 1964 musical.


It focuses on Joe Bonaparte, whose dream of becoming a violinist could become a reality when prizefight promoter Roxy Gottlieb offers to sponsor him as a boxer. He finds himself torn between the lure of big money and the distinct possibility of injuring his hands, thereby destroying his musical career. Among those offering him advice are his Italian immigrant father, his manager Tom Moody, and Tom's girlfriend Lorna Moon, with whom Joe falls in love.

Production history

Following his 1935 successes Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing!, Odets had headed to Hollywood to script The General Died at Dawn with the intention of using his salary to support the Group Theatre, the independent theatre company that had produced his earlier plays, despite his previous protests against large corporations, including movie studios. His own internal struggle to choose between art and materialism became the basis for the theme of his play, his first to focus more on psychology and personal relationships than social criticism.

The Broadway production, directed by Harold Clurman, opened on November 4, 1937 at the Belasco Theatre, where it ran for 250 performances. The cast included Luther Adler as Joe, Robert Lewis as Roxy, Morris Carnovsky as Joe's father, Roman Bohnen as Tom, and Frances Farmer as Lorna, with Lee J. Cobb, Elia Kazan, Howard Da Silva, Karl Malden and John Garfield in supporting roles.

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