FRENCH, WINSOR (24 Dec. 1904-6 Mar. 1973), society columnist for the CLEVELAND PRESS, was born in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Winsor P. and Edith French. He became the stepson of Joseph O. Eaton, founder of the EATON CORP., after his father's death. French moved to Cleveland with his family in 1915. After sporadic education, he worked for the CLEVELAND NEWS and TIME. In 1933 he joined the Press and married Margaret Hall Frueauff. A year later Mrs. French obtained a divorce, becoming a noted actress under the name Margaret Perry.
French wrote some drama criticism for the Press, but found his calling as a society reporter. His friends included Lucius Beebe, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, Libby Holman, John O'Hara, and Cole Porter. He left the Press to live in New York in 1941 but returned at the conclusion of WORLD WAR II. Sent to Europe to report on the condition of the average European in 1946, he cabled interviews with Noel Coward, Beatrice Lillie, and Somerset Maugham. Never remarried, French lived like the people he wrote about partly through the gift of IBM stock from Clevelander Leonard Hanna. Failing in health and confined to a wheelchair late in his career, French campaigned for the rights of the handicapped, resulting in Mayor Ralph Locher ordering City Hall and other city buildings to be made accessible to handicapped persons, and in French's receiving a presidential citation in 1966. He retired from the Press in 1968, and is buried with his parents in Williamstown, Mass.Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 03:43:54 PM
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