Shortly after, Crowninshield went on vacation and left Vanity Fair to be run by Benchley, Sherwood and Parker. Keep in mind that the trio had begun covering the walls of their office with pictures of dead bodies from funeral trade magazines and captioning them, claiming they were going to start a magazine called From Grave to Gay! so I do not know why Crowninshield thought this would be a good idea.
Suffice to say, they started publishing pieces that were not suitable for the little old lady in Dubuque, and Crowninshield returned with the sense that the inmates were running the asylum.
Dorothy’s theater reviews had also become problematic – she’s begun taking swipes at friends of the publisher Conde Nast, including Billie Burke, who Dorothy had claimed “coyly threw herself around the stage as if giving an impersonation of exotic dancer Eva Tanguay.”
She was not long for Vanity Fair after that.
When Crowninshield fired her he took her out to the Plaza and told her she could work on “little pieces at home.” Dorothy refused and ordered the most expensive dessert on the menu.
Robert Sherwood was also fired, and his replacement was the woman who gave music lessons to Conde Nast’s daughter. Seriously.
Robert Benchley promptly resigned as well.
In his resignation he claimed that his reason for leaving was that the decision to fire Dorothy Parker was “incredibly stupid” and that his job was “not attractive enough to remain without Mr. Sherwood and Mrs. Parker.” Alexander Woollcott – who shared their lunches at the Algonquin round table – wrote sympathetically of the event in The New York Times, and in the Conning Tower, Frank Adams reported that “R. Benchley tells me he hath resigned his position with Vanity Fair because they discharged Dorothy Parker; which I am sorry for.”
The next day, in the lobby of Conde Nast, the trio hung a poster that read “Contribution for Miss Billie Burke.”
At the end of her life, Dorothy remembered Benchley’s resignation as the greatest act of loyalty she had ever known.