The marriage of Mark Hellinger to Franciscans at St. Bonaventure University occurred after the writer died. Inspiration for the establishment of the award came from Jim Bishop author, columnist and protege-biographer of Hellinger.
In 1923, Hellinger became the first columnist to write exclusively about Broadway and people associated with the Entertainment world. He wrote more than 6,000 short stories, plays, motion picture scripts, sports columns, jokes and novels. In 1930, he wrote the last Ziegfeld Follies, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld himself. The following year, Heillinger was on of the three authors of Ziegfeld’s last production, Hot-Cha, a musical. MGM bought his plays, and Hellinger worked on films with such stars as Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan. In 1937, he left New York to become a Hollywood producer. Ten years later, he established his own unit, which immediately drew attention as the producer of "The Killers," its first picture.
Hellinger also wrote a daily column for "The Mirror." Among subjects Hellinger discussed in his columns were his marriage, on July 29, 1929, to Gladys Glad, a "Ziegfeld Girl" who won a contest as the most beautiful girl on stage. He also wrote in his column of their divorce in 1932, and their remarriage on July 11, 1933.
Often called "the man nobody hates," Hellinger was known for his whopping charitable donations and extravagant tipping. He kept a pocket full of $2 bills, folded to stamp size, which he would give to any down-and-outer who shook his hand and said "Hello, Mark."
Hellinger traveled all around the world and lived in a sumptuous East Side apartment. He once leased a railroad car to go to a football game. In the Depression years, he earned $1,000 a week as a columnist and $3500 a week as a movie producer. But most importantly, he acquired many real friends who revered his memory: a man who spoke with a Broadway voice and had, as a trademark, natty blue suits and white ties.
A black-haired, handsome man with pale blue eyes, Hellinger dies of a heart attack at the age of 44. His last words were: "I hope you doctors know what the hell you’re doing." But they couldn’t read God’s mind and Hellinger left for what he called "the Great Perhaps."