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John Monk Saunders

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The Seattle Daily Times
Monday, March 11, 1940
Page 1, Column 3

John Monk Saunders Is Suicide

Fort Myers, Florida, Monday, March 11. The body of a man identified by neighbors as John Monk Saunders, Hollywood screen writer, formerly of Seattle, was found hanging in the closet of his winter cottage at Fort Myers Beach today.

Coroner Roy Lamberton said there was no doubt that Saunders committed suicide. He said no inquest was necessary.

Saunders came to Fort Myers last fall after spending some time in John Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore. A nurse came with him and stayed at his cottage until recently.

Saunders Was Rhodes Scholar From Seattle

John Monk Saunders was born in Hinckley, Minnesota, the son of the late Robert C. Saunders, former United States Attorney in Seattle. He attended Broadway High School and the University of Washington, where he was President of his freshman class and a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. From the University of Washington he was appointed a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, England.

Flyer in World War

In the World War Saunders was a Second Lieutenant in the United States Aviation Service. He later became an Associate Editor of The American Magazine. He served on the editorial Staff of The New York Tribune and The Los Angeles Times and began writing for the screen in 1925. His outstanding success was the picture “Wings.” He rewrote “Dawn Patrol” for the films and in 1938 wrote the basis for “A Yank at Oxford.” He also was the author of numerous short stories and a longer story, “Docks of New York,” which was filmed.

Mother Lives Here

Saunders married Avis Hughes, daughter of Rupert Hughes, the author and was divorced in 1927. In 1928 he married Fay Wray, motion picture actress from whom he also was divorced. He is survived by a daughter, Susan, 3 years old, in Hollywood; his mother, Mrs. Nannie Saunders of Seattle; three sisters, Miss Virginia Saunders and Mrs. Jack McMillan, Seattle and Mrs. Francis Donahoe, Olympia and four brothers, Robert C. Saunders of St. Louis, Eugene D. and Dr. Edward Saunders of New York City and Richard C. of Seattle.


Generously contributed by: Sheila Simpson