On July 23, 1888, Raymond Thornton Chandler was born in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1895, after the divorce of his parents, Chandler moved to London with his mother. From 1900-1905, he attended Dulwich College, and later traveled to Paris and Germany to study languages. In 1907, he returned to England and became a naturalized British subject.
In 1912, Chandler returned to America; he lived briefly in St. Louis and Omaha before moving to California. In 1917, he enlisted in the Canadian Army. In December, he arrived in Liverpool, England, and was later sent to France. In June 1918, he transferred to the Royal Air Force, where he began aviation training school. In February 1919, he received a discharge from the Army and travelled along the Pacific coast.
In 1919, Raymond began a love affair with a married woman, Pearl Cecily “Cissy” Pascal, 18 years his senior. Cissy divorced her husband and married Chandler in February 1924.
In 1932, at age 44, Raymond lost his job as an oil company executive, due to drinking and absenteeism. He decided to become a detective fiction writer. Before writing his first novel, The Big Sleep (published in 1939), Chandler wrote pulp fiction short stories, published in The Black Mask and Dime Detective.
The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart as the hard-boiled private eye, Philip Marlowe, was released in 1946. The plot was drawn from two of his short stories: “Killer in the Rain” and “The Curtain.” It also incorporates a bit of “Finger Man.”
Chandler worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter, contributing to Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), the film noir classic The Blue Dahlia (1946) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951).
In December 1954, Cissy Chandler died. At age 70, Chandler died from bronchial pneumonia on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, San Diego, California.
In 2015, Raymond Chandler will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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