Sandi Wallace Biography & Facts
Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was a British writer.
Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at the age of 12. He joined the army at age 21 and 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 including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on his time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines such as The Windsor Magazine and later published collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.
After an unsuccessful bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool (as one of David Lloyd George's Independent Liberals) in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong (1933).
Wallace was such a prolific writer that one of his publishers claimed that a quarter of all books 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.In addition to his work on King Kong, he is remembered as a writer of "the colonial imagination", for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, and for The Green Archer serial. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions and The Economist in 1997 describes him as "one of the most prolific thriller writers of [the 20th] century", although the great majority of his books are out of print in the UK, but are still read in Germany. A 50-minute German TV documentary was made in 1963 called The Edgar Wallace Story, which featured his son Bryan Edgar Wallace.
Life and work
Ancestry and birth
Wallace's great-grandfather was entertainer James Henry Marriott, and his grandmother was actress Alice Marriott. Wallace was born at 7 Ashburnham Grove, Greenwich, to actors Richard Horatio Marriott Edgar (1847–1894) and Mary Jane "Polly" Richards, née Blair (born 1843).Wallace's mother's family had been in show business, and she worked in the theatre as a stagehand, usherette, and bit-part actress until she married in 1867. Her husband, Captain Joseph Richards, was born in 1838; he was from Irish family. He and his father John Richards were both Merchant Navy captains, and his mother Catherine Richards came from a mariner family. Joseph died at sea in 1868, leaving his pregnant wife destitute. After the birth of Wallace's older sibling, his mother returned to the stage, assuming the stage name "Polly" Richards. In 1872, she met and joined the Marriott family theatre troupe, managed by Alice Marriott, her husband Richard Edgar, and her three adult children (from earlier liaisons), Grace, Adeline and Richard Horatio Marriott Edgar.Wallace's parents had a "broom cupboard" style sexual encounter during an after-show party. Discovering she was pregnant, his mother invented a fictitious obligation in Greenwich that would last at least half a year and obtained a room in a boarding house where she lived until her son's birth, on 1 April 1875. During her confinement she had asked her midwife to find a couple to foster the child. The midwife introduced Wallace's mother to her close friend, Mrs Freeman, a mother of ten children, whose husband George Freeman was a Billingsgate fishmonger. On 9 April 1875, his mother took Wallace to the semi-literate Freeman family, and made arrangements to visit often.
Childhood and early career
Wallace, then known as Richard Horatio Edgar Freeman, had a happy childhood and a close bond with 20-year-old Clara Freeman, who became a second mother to him. By 1878, his mother could no longer afford the small sum she had been paying the Freemans to care for her son and, instead of placing the boy in the workhouse, the Freemans adopted him. His mother never visited Wallace again as a child. His foster-father George Freeman was determined to ensure Richard received a good education, and for some time Wallace attended St. Alfege with St. Peter's, a boarding school in Peckham, but he played truant and then left full-time education at the age of 12.By his early teens, Wallace had held down numerous jobs such as newspaper-seller at Ludgate Circus near Fleet Street, milk-delivery boy, rubber factory worker, shoe shop assistant, and ship's cook. A plaque at Ludgate Circus commemorates Wallace's first encounter with the newspaper business. He was dismissed from his job on the milk run for stealing money. In 1894, he became engaged to a local Deptford girl, Edith Anstree, but broke the engagement and enlisted in the infantry.
Wallace registered in the British Army under the name Edgar Wallace, after the author of Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace. At the time the medical records register him as having a 33-inch chest and being stunted from his childhood spent in the slums. He was posted to South Africa with the West Kent Regiment, in 1896. He disliked army life but managed to arrange a transfer to the Royal Army Medical Corps, which was less arduous but more unpleasant, and so transferred again to the Press Corps, which he found suited him better.
Wallace began publishing songs and poetry, much inspired by Rudyard Kipling, whom he met in Cape Town in 1898. Wallace's first book of ballads, The Mission that Failed!, was published that same year. In 1899, he bought his way out of the forces and turned to writing full time. Remaining in Africa, he became a war correspondent, first for Reuters and then the Daily Mail (1900) and other periodicals during the Boer War.
In 1901, while in South Africa, Wallace married Ivy Maude Caldecott (1880?–1926), although her father Reverend William Shaw Caldecott, a Wesleyan missionary, was strongly opposed to the marriage. The couple's first child, Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace, died suddenly from meningitis in 1903, and the couple returned to London soon afterwards, deeply in debt.In London, Wallace worked for the Mail and began writing detective stories in a bid to earn quick money. A son, Bryan Edgar Wallace, was born in 1904 followed by a daughter, Patricia, in 1908. In 1903, Wallace met his birth mother Polly, whom he had never known. Terminally ill, 60 years old, and living in poverty, she came to him to ask for money and was turned away. Polly died in the Bradford Infirmary later that year.
Unable to find any backer for his first book, Wallace set up his own publishing company, Tallis Press, which issued the thriller The Four Just Men (1905). Despite promotion in the Mail and good sales, the project was financially mismanaged, and Wallace had to be bailed out by the Mail's proprietor Alfred Harmsworth, who was.... Discover the Sandi Wallace popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Sandi Wallace books.