Edward de Grazia, retired in 2006 as Professor of Law at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, New York, is an attorney specializing in human rights litigation, a political activist on behalf of constitutional rights, and a playwright. He was born on February 5, 1927 at Chicago, Illinois to Alfred J. de Grazia, a band and orchestra conductor and Catherine Calogera Lupo de Grazia, already the mother of two sons, Sebastian, nine years old, and Alfred Jr., seven years old.
Edward was a pensive intelligent lad, who was taught swimming and boxing at an early age by his brother Al and to play clarinet by his father. With little effort, he scored high in scholarship at Blaine Grammar School and Lake View High School, then enlisted in the Army Air Force for pilot training, but was confined to the ranks for the duration plus six months. His free time was spent in dissipation and writing a novel that soon was published under the name of an author whom he did not know and for a flat sum without rights. It was called "Three Days Pass to Kill."
Back in Chicago, he followed the steps of his older brothers through the University of Chicago, and then through the Law School that had been significantly and well remodeled by Edward Levi. His way was paid by the Federal G.I Bill and a job at Dr. Bruno Bettleheim's clinic for autistic children. There he met Ellen O'Connor, granddaughter of a Chicago Chief of Police, and as out of character for her inheritance as was Edward out of his.
His law degree in hand, he obtained employment with the prestigious law firm, Kirkland, Green, Martin, and Ellis, that had some specialization in the law of communications, and as client the Chicago Tribune, bane of practically all his family and friends. He went to Washington for the firm, began to have children, and then took a position with UNESCO as Assistant to the Secretary-General, Dr. Luther Evans. He left when the Evans tenure ended and set up a legal practice in Washington, where he practiced communications and human rights law until his friend Conrad Paulson from the University of Chicago days asked him to join the faculty group that was assembling to found a new Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in Manhattan. Meanwhile and thereafter he was active in civil rights litigation and in the avantgarde theater (especially the Arena Theater in Washington.
He resigned his Professorship in 2006, moved to Washington, and continued to write on communications law and to compose plays. His best known works were the massive history of the struggle against censorship, especially in the United States in modern times, entitled "Girls Lean Back Everywhere," and his textbook on the law of obscenity.
His plays, all of which are carried hereunder, speak for themselves. They are iconoclastic, absurdist, connective of mythological ancient and modern times. Most have yet to be staged. They have tested impressively in readings, nonetheless. It will take some time before they might be said to compete successfully with his non-fiction studies, half of which are dramatically written., but their time will come.
Alfred de Grazia
Island of Naxos, Greece
20 April 2006