28 Mar 1903
MERTON HODGE BORN
Playwright and medical practitioner Merton Hodge is born in Taruheru, Poverty Bay. Hodge studied at King's College in Auckland and then Otago Medical School. He moved to England in 1931 where he gained international success with his play The Wind and the Rain. An Australian newspaper wrote, "By day he works as an anaesthetist in a big hospital at Hyde Park Corner: at night he has been writing plays which are the success of the season." The Wind and the Rain ran for three years (1,001 performances) in London's West End, played for 6-months on Broadway in New York and was translated into nine languages. Hodge mingled in bohemian and theatrical circles while in the UK - partying with Ivor Novello, Tallulah Bankhead and Noel Coward. He also spent a lot of time with Geoffrey Wardwell, another actor, who researchers think was probably his lover. In 1952 Hodge returned to New Zealand, married and settled in Dunedin. Sadly, he took his own life 6-years later in 1958.