Edgar Wallace biography

Edgar Wallace

Novelist, Author

1875 – 1932

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Who was Edgar Wallace?

Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace was an English writer.

Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at 12. Joining the army at 21, he was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and The Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books such as The Four Just Men. Drawing on time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines, later publishing collections such as Sanders of the River. He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.

After a disastrous bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO studios. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong.

A prolific writer, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books then read in England were written by him. As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace's work. He is remembered for as a writer of 'the colonial imagination', for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, the Green Archer and creation of King Kong. Selling over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions, the Economist describes him as "one of the most prolific thriller writers of [the 20th] century", although few of his books are still in print in the UK.

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Born
Apr 1, 1875
Greenwich
Also known as
  • Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace
  • Agatha Wallace
  • Richard Horatio Edgar Freeman
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Died
Feb 10, 1932
Beverly Hills

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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