Adela Rogers St. Johns was the first woman to cover a police beat and the first allowed into the press box at sporting events — she had been known as everything from "The World's Greatest Girl Reporter" to "Mother Confessor of Hollywood."
As "The World's Greatest Girl Reporter" for Hearst newspapers, she covered the Lindbergh baby kidnaping trial of Bruno Hauptmann, the abdication of King Edward VIII, the assassination of Sen. Huey Long, the long-count Dempsey-Tunney boxing match and Washington politics during the Roosevelt Administration.
As "Mother Confessor of Hollywood," she wrote frank celebrity interviews, profiles and articles for Photoplay, the first movie magazine devoted to satisfying the seemingly insatiable curiosity of a newly star-struck nation.
The outspoken, opinionated and occasionally acerbic writer also had a successful career writing fiction — numerous screenplays, scores of short stories, serials for the top magazines of the day and a best-selling novel, "Tell No Man."
Her longtime friend, Margaret Burk, said that Mrs. St. Johns, who also was a minister in the Church of Religious Science, had been working on a final book, "The Missing Years of Jesus," at her death.
Mrs. St. Johns' personal triumphs were accompanied by tragedy: the death of her eldest son, William Ivan St. Johns, in World War II; the conquest of alcoholism, a disease that killed her celebrated father, attorney Earl Rogers, and which she called "the curse of my life," and three failed marriages.
In 1970, in recognition of her years of "devotion to the ideal that a democracy cannot survive without a free press," President Richard M. Nixon, who had delivered her groceries when he was a boy in Whittier, awarded Mrs. St. Johns the Medal of Freedom.
"My accomplishment worthy of recording has been to see, know, interview, hear, and observe people whose very names made news— who did unusual, historic, exciting things," she wrote in her 1969 best-selling autobiography, "The Honeycomb."
|1931||Best Original Story||What Price Hollywood?||Nomination*|