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Karen DeWolf

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Karen DeWolf
Muriel Valentine Quack

February 14, 1904
New York, New York, USA
DiedJuly 20, 1989 (aged 85)
Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA
OccupationScreenwriter, author
Spouse(s)John Warfield Wells (div.)
Conrad Wells (div.)
Eric DeWolf
Dennis Grady

Karen DeWolf (1904–1989), sometimes known as Gypsy Wells,[1] was an American screenwriter and novelist credited on over 50 films during her 20+ years in Hollywood.[2] She's best known for her work on Columbia's Blondie films,[3] in addition to movies like Nine Girls and Johnny Allegro. She also wrote a book, Take the Laughter, in 1940.[4]


Early life

DeWolf was born Muriel Valentine Quack, the only child of Hugh Quack and Florence Morrow in Manhattan. After her family moved west, she graduated from high school in Alameda, California.

She had dreams of becoming an actress, and caused quite a stir at 17 by posing in a swimsuit for a photo that ended up on the cover of National Police Gazette. (After being suspended, DeWolf would tell her principal she had never agreed for those photos—which were taken with the intent of furthering her ambition to be an actress—to be used in that manner.)[5][6]

She briefly gave up her Hollywood dreams, however, when she married her first husband, real estate developer John Warfield Wells, at age 19.[7] At this time, she assumed the stage name Gypsy Wells and performed in the San Francisco Bay Area as a dancer. The marriage would soon end in divorce.

Hollywood career

After moving to Hollywood, DeWolf married cinematographer Abraham Fried, aka Conrad Wells, in 1926, but the pair separated in the late 1920s, shortly before Wells died in a freak plane accident in 1930 on the set of Such Men Are Dangerous.[8] Soon after, she married Eric DeWolf, president of the California Etchers' Association.[9]

When DeWolf first arrived in Hollywood, she hoped to be an actress,[10] but she eventually discovered a love for screenwriting.[11] She slipped a script to director Lowell Sherman on set one day, and he brought her on as an editor and dialogue director.[12] From there, she worked her way into writing rooms, gaining work on a number of franchises, including the Charlie Chan films, the Jones Family films, and the Blondie films.[13]


Her career came to a halt in the 1950s when she was blacklisted during the McCarthy era for alleged Communist ties.[14]

Personal life

DeWolf was married four times: first to John Warfield Wells, then to Conrad Wells, then to Eric DeWolf, and then to Dennis Grady.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Hollywood Gossip Page". The Oakland Tribune. 30 Mar 1941. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  2. ^ Nelmes, Jill; Selbo, Jule (2015-09-29). Women Screenwriters: An International Guide. Springer. ISBN 9781137312372.
  3. ^ Morton, Lisa; Adamson, Kent (2015-02-18). Savage Detours: The Life and Work of Ann Savage. McFarland. ISBN 9780786457069.
  4. ^ "Film Scenarist Has Novel Reason for Writing". Palladium-Item. 9 Apr 1941. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  5. ^ "Fame Is Thrust on East Bay Girl". The San Francisco Examiner. 1 Nov 1920. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  6. ^ "Police Gazette Pictures Get School Girl 'In Bad'". Santa Cruz Evening News. 3 Nov 1920. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  7. ^ "Home Life for Girl Not Stage". The San Francisco Examiner. 19 Apr 1922. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  8. ^ "Varied Experience". The Los Angeles Times. 4 Jan 1930. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  9. ^ "Fox Plane Victim's Ex-Wife Will Wed Soon". The Los Angeles Times. 19 Feb 1930. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  10. ^ "Movie Script Writer Gets Screen Test". Great Falls Tribune. 4 Aug 1940. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  11. ^ "Movie Script Writer, Feminine, Gives Low-Down on Herself". Rocky Mount Telegram. 24 Sep 1941. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  12. ^ "4 Jan 1930, 18 - The Los Angeles Times at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  13. ^ "27 Mar 1941, 2 - Adams County Independent at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  14. ^ Various (2016-04-27). "Our pick of what's on the small screen". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
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