Alexander Humphreys Woollcott (January 19, 1887 – January 23, 1943) was an American critic and commentator for The New Yorker magazine and a
member of the Algonquin Round Table. He was the inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside, the main character in the play The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939) by George S. Kaufman
and Moss Hart, and for the far less likable character Waldo Lydecker in the film Laura (1944). Woollcott was convinced he was the inspiration for his friend Rex Stout's
brilliant, eccentric detective Nero Wolfe, an idea that Stout denied.
Billed as The Early Bookworm, Woollcott was first heard on CBS Radio in October 1929, reviewing books in various timeslots until 1933.
His CBS show The Town Crier, which began July 21, 1933, opened with the ringing of a bell and the cry, "Hear ye, hear ye!" followed by Woollcott's literary observations
punctuated with acidic anecdotes. Sponsored by Cream of Wheat (1934–35) and Grainger Tobacco (1937–38), it continued until January 6, 1938. He had no reservations about
using this forum to promote his own books, and the continual mentions of his book While Rome Burns (1934) probably helped make it a bestseller.