MOVIEGOERS from all over the world loved the 1964 classic film: “My Fair Lady,” screen adaptation of a play written by George Bernard Shaw: “Pygmalion.” Shaw was born in Portobello, Dublin, Ireland in mid-19th century to an Irish family of modest means.
Already then the Irish boasted of having the best spoken and written English. But, since his family could not afford good schools the young Shaw educated himself by reading and listening to people, which he did with much pleasure, even grinning impishly whenever he noticed other people’s lapses.
Later in his life, he greatly surprised the world in producing some extremely popular plays: “Caesar and Cleopatra,” “Man and Superman,” and “Saint Joan.” His fame rose with the play “Pygmalion,” which afterwards became a movie blockbuster. The literary world finally acknowledged his genius by granting him highly prized awards: 1) the Academy Award and 2) the Nobel Prize for Literature.
But controversy hounded Shaw, for he advocated Marxist ideas, such as banning private property and condemning capitalism. Moreover, in another of his play, “Of Arms and Men,” Shaw declared that in hunting for mates, women are more aggressive than men. Nevertheless, his fame still attracted women, one of whom, an English beauty queen, openly and publicly proposed: “Mr. Shaw, why don’t you and I marry? With your brains and with my looks, our children will be truly priceless!” Shaw, not really gifted with a movie-star’s face, quickly replied, “But lady, what if our children will have my looks and your brains?”
Till his dying days, George Bernard Shaw, considered second only to William Shakespeare, refused all earthly honors. Truly humble, witty, yet great.