Edgar Wallace

Knowledge Identifier: +Edgar_Wallace


Edgar Wallace

English crime writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, who wrote 175 novels, 24 plays, and numerous articles in newspapers and journals add

Category: Justice-Crime

Born in 1875.

Countries: United Kingdom (34%), Germany (21%), United States (14%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Daily Mail, King Kong, Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener

Linked to: British Broadcasting Company, British Lion Film Corporation, Liberal Party, Daily Mail




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Edgar Wallace was born in 1875 add something


By 1878, Polly was faced with a serious dilemma add something


In 1885, when she was sixteen, Josephine Catherine Richards had become engaged to William Henry Donovan, and Polly felt honour-bound to inform her of the half-brother living in Deptford add something


She married Donovan during 1886 and had their only child, named Alice Grace Adeline Donovan in honour of her foster-grandmother and aunts, in 1887 add something


His one prudence since the mid 1890s had been to "keep in" with his colleagues at the "Daily Mail" and so he presented himself at their office with the tale of his daughter's death and his wife's fragile health add something


She had been aware of her son's illustrious career as a Colonial correspondent since the late 1890s - and like Ivy and everyone around Edgar, did not know that in fact he was impoverished add something


In 1894, he had rashly become engaged to a local Deptford girl, Edith Anstree add something


Like her father, Joseph Richards, Josephine died young of a sudden illness in 1894 at the age of 25 years add something


In 1900 Edgar moved to a large, comfortable house at 6 Tressillian Crescent, Brockley S E London, only a mile from the house where he was born in Greenwich add something


In 1900, Ivy had their first child, Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace, and Edgar met one Harry F. Cohen, a financier add something


Unlike in 1902, in 1908 there was no way to hide the calamity from Ivy, emotionally vulnerable from giving birth to the couple's third child Patricia Marion Caldecott Wallace, and soon they had to move to a virtual slum add something


With Cohen's complicity, Edgar came up with an ingenious way of scooping the press-hating General Kitchener in 1902 with the signing of the Treaty ending the Boer War. Impressed, Cohen appointed Edgar editor of the "Rand Daily Mail" with a £2,000 per annum salary add something


In 1903, Edgar experienced another profound event, when his mother Polly, whom he had never known, came to him add something


Russo-Japanese War - Edgar went to Europe as a correspondent during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War add something


The first distracting event was Ivy's second pregnancy during 1904 - to which she reacted not with joy but with anxiety and stress add something


Returning to England in 1905 he had in his head "The Four Just Men", the prototype of modern thriller novels, about four young, handsome, immensely wealthy vigilantes who kill people in the name of Justice add something


As 1906 began and continued without any list of prize winners being printed, more and more suspicions were being voiced about the honesty of the competition add something


Meanwhile, there were during 1906-1907 two libel suits in the courts against the "Daily Mail", involving Edgar add something


During 1907 Edgar travelled to the Congo Free State, to report on how the native Congolese were being horribly abused by representatives of King Leopold II of Belgium add something


Also in 1908, he recalled his determination to find his mother, not knowing of her death add something


As shown in the listing of Wallace's output featured below, the two ten year periods from 1908–1918 and 1922–1932 were the most prolific of his life, but for different reasons add something


But events would thwart him until 1908 add something


Ivy and Edgar had never been truly compatible with each other in personality anyway, and 1908 marked the start of the slow disintegration of their marriage add something


She hired him to write a serial for her magazine, and so began during 1909 the "Sanders of the River" stories which were serialized for years and which he eventually compiled into novels add something


Spurred by guilt over his actions, Edgar was motivated to "woo" Ivy with sufficient success for her to become unexpectedly pregnant during 1915, though the marriage had been moribund for several years add something


During 1916, Ivy had her last child, named Michael Blair Wallace by Edgar in belated homage to his mother, Polly add something


Assuring herself that Violet liked and was liked by her children, and aware they would all be at school soon, Ivy showed kindness towards Edgar to the end, gently withdrawing from his life before filing for divorce in 1918 and telling him that he was not to blame add something


With Ivy living in Tunbridge Wells and the children at school, Edgar could finally concentrate on his writing and from 1918 drew closer to the intelligent, ever more capable Violet add something


In the 1920s, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books read in England were written by him add something


Experiencing ill-health, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1923, and wrote a letter to Edgar requesting "a loan for minor surgery" with such successful obfuscation that Edgar did not realise she was seriously ill add something


Violet did not have any intention of disrupting her and Edgar's life much and so was shocked and upset to become pregnant, having her only child, Penelope Wallace, in 1923, though Edgar was delighted add something


On 6 June 1923, Edgar Wallace became the first British radio sports reporter, when he made a report on the Epsom Derby for the British Broadcasting Company, the newly founded predecessor of the BBC add something


Though the tumour's removal was initially successful, it returned terminally by 1925 add something


The frantic summons of a doctor got Bryan to her deathbed so she did not die alone like Polly Richards, but she succumbed to breast cancer during 1926 add something


In 1927, famous because of "The Ringer", Edgar secured an extraordinary deal - unprecedented for its time - with a cinematic company, British Lion add something


Carol Reed - A period in the theatrical company of the thriller writer Edgar Wallace followed, and Reed became his personal assistant in 1927


Thus, by 1929, Edgar's earnings were almost £50,000 per annum, add something


"Planetoid 127", first published in 1929 but reprinted as late 1962, is a short story about an Earth scientist who communicates via wireless with his counterpart on a duplicate Earth orbiting unseen because it is on the opposite side of the Sun. The idea of a "mirror Earth" or "mirror Universe" later became a standard sub-genre within science fiction add something


He became active in the Liberal Party and contested Blackpool in the 1931 general election as one of a handful of Independent Liberals who rejected the National Government, and the official Liberal support for it, and strongly supported free trade add something


Never one to just have one iron in the fire, Edgar used his new wealth and fame to venture into politics in 1931, even as he prepared to travel across the Atlantic Ocean add something


There was Edgar's children - by 1931 Michael, the youngest, was in his mid-teens and well had his father's measure; Edgar had always excelled at the "fair weather father" type of playing and doling out money and laughs, whilst floundering at the important things a father is - a guide, an instructor, an adviser, confidante and protector add something


Not particularly bothered, Edgar cruised to America in November 1931 add something


In December 1931, Wallace was assigned work on a number of scripts for RKO, including a "gorilla picture" for producer Merian C. Cooper add something


Wallace had written the initial 110-page draft for "King Kong" over five weeks, from late December 1931 to January 1932 add something


In December, 1932, his story and screenplay for King Kong were "novelized" or transcribed by Delos W. Lovelace, a journalist and author himself who knew Cooper from when they worked on the same newspaper, and appeared in book form under the title "King Kong" add something


One of his first successes was the 1932 film adaptation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" add something

Edgar Wallace died in 1932 add something


Violet booked passage on a liner out of Southampton, but received word that Edgar had slipped into a coma and died on 7 February 1932 in Beverly Hills, California add something


His will left Violet three-sevenths of his estate and each child one-seventh each, which in March 1932 was nothing but debt, much of which were still left over from his six years in South Africa, 35 years earlier add something


Walter F. Ripperger wrote a two-part serialization of the Wallace and Cooper story in "Mystery" magazine titled "King Kong" in the February and March issues in 1933 add something


Though a quarter-century younger than Edgar, she outlived him by only 14 months, dying suddenly in April 1933 at the age of 33 with the estate still deep in debt add something


By the beginning of 1934, the estate's debt was reduced to £38,000 thanks to effort by Violet and others add something


It was March 1934 when the debt was finally cleared and the four children finally received their first income dividend add something


Lane published Edgar Wallace's biography in 1938 add something


Adelaide Hall - After many years performing in the U.S.A. and Europe, Hall went to the United Kingdom in 1938 in order to take a starring role in a musical version of Edgar Wallace's "The Sun Never Sets" at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane


Richard Bird (actor) - He directed the 1938 film version of Edgar Wallace's "The Terror", as well as the 1943 stage adaptation of Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock" at the Garrick Theatre, London


Francis Hastings, 16th Earl of Huntingdon - Huntingdon married secondly Margaret Lane, daughter of Harry George Lane, and former wife of Bryan Wallace, son of Edgar Wallace, in 1944


In 1959 a mini-revival of his work occurred in Germany and around the Eastern Bloc, and his eldest son Bryan relocated there for some time to edit and direct many of the string of Edgar Wallace B-movies and made-for-TV movies filmed in that country add something


Jurgen Roland - After his work for the TV station Roland directed several movies, the 1960s "Der grüne Bogenschütze" starring Gert Fröbe was based on an Edgar Wallace's novel of 1923


Herbert Reinecker - At the same time he wrote screenplays for the series of German feature films of the 1960s that were loosely based on Edgar Wallace's novels as well as TV adaptations of Francis Durbridge novels and plays


Stewart Granger - In the German Edgar Wallace film series of the 1960s, he was seen in "The Trygon Factor"


Eric Pohlmann - In 1961 Pohlmann appeared in a German film adaptation of a Edgar Wallace novel "The Mystery of the Red Orchid", directed by Helmuth Ashley, and starring Marisa Mell, Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski


The first paperback edition had been published by Bantam in 1965 in the US and by Corgi in 1966 in the UK. In 1976, Grosset and Dunlap republished the novel in paperback and hardcover editions add something


Horst Tappert - In 1968, he changed sides by playing Scotland Yard detective Perkins in Edgar Wallace movies


In 1969, Penelope founded "The Edgar Wallace Appreciation Society" which she ran until her death in 1997, the work being continued by her daughter, named Penelope add something


David Pringle noted in 1987 "The Sanders Books are not frequently reprinted nowadays, perhaps because of their overt racism" add something


Peter Thomas (composer) - In his directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind , actor George Clooney used three tracks of Peter Thomas' music originally composed for Edgar Wallace movies of the 1960s


In 2004 Oliver Kalkofe produced the movie "Der Wixxer", an homage to the popular black and white Wallace movies add something


In 2005, Blackstone Audio released a spoken-word version of the book as an audiobook on CD with commentary by Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Harryhausen, among others add something


The book was reissued in 2005 by the prestigious Modern Library, a division of Random House, with an Introduction by Greg Bear and a Preface by Mark Cotta Vaz, and by Penguin in the US. In the UK, Victor Gollancz published a hardcover version in 2005 add something


There were German and Czech versions of the novel in 2005 add something


In 2007 Kalkofe produced a sequel "Neues vom Wixxer" add something