Elaine Dundy (1921-2008) was an American novelist, actress and playwright.
Born and raised in New York, she was working as an actress in Paris and London when she met the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. Two weeks later they were living together, and within the year she had cabled home: “Have married Englishman. Letter follows.” The couple rapidly became part of the theatrical and film elite of London and Hollywood, travelling and socialising with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal.
Her first novel The Dud Avocado was an immediate hit, with Groucho Marx writing in a letter: “I had to tell someone (and it might as well be you as you’re the author) how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm)”. Elaine went on to establish a successful career as an author and biographer, and also wrote her autobiography Life Itself! in 2001. She divided her time between London and Los Angeles until her death in 2008.