Sandford the griping ghost

“I have no authorial pride,” I’ve heard speechwriters say.

I’ve never believed that for one moment—you can’t kid a kidder—though I have come to understand the professional wisdom of appearing graceful rather than grouchy.

But have you ever given over to your secret belief that the world would be better off getting your ideas straight, and you’d be better off if it was your name on the marquis?

The question occurs to me as I read a Wall Street Journal remembrance, sent to me by speechwriter Tack Cornelius, of Sandford Dody, who ghosted celebs’ books in the 1950s and 1960s. Among his under-acknowledged credits was giving voice to Bette Davis in The Lonely life. But Dody became so embittered by the process and so contemptuous of his literary “partners” that he wrote in his own 1980 memoir, “Let the next star write her own damned biography.”

Speechwriters, have you ever had it up to here? How did you express it? (It’s okay if you’d rather ghostwrite your confession, too; write to [email protected].)

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