Vicki_BaumHedwig "Vicki" Baum was an Austrian-born writer who earned great fame as a best-selling author in Europe, and later as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Baum was born in Vienna to a middle-class Jewish family, and spent her early years studying music at the Vienna Conservatory.

However, her passion was for writing. Beginning in her teens, Baum developed a unique style which is today celebrated for its modernist and feminist overtones. Her first published novel, Frühe Schatten, was published in 1920, however it was Menschen im Hotel in 1929 which truly secured her place in history. The novel was later made into an Academy Award Winning film called Grand Hotel (1932). 

Increasingly uncomfortable with rising fascism and anti-Semitism in Vienna, Baum left for the United States in 1932, when she was commissioned to write the screenplay for Grand Hotel. She settled in Los Angeles permanently, and went on to write more than fifty novels, of which at least ten were adapted as motion pictures. Hedwig "Vicki" Baum died of Leukemia in Los Angeles in 1960.