Born in Chicago but raised in England after parents' divorce
Became a naturalized British citizen and went to work at the Admiralty
Published first poem in <i>Chamber's Journal</i>
Worked as a teacher at Dulwich College Prepatory School
Was a journalist for the <i>Daily Express</i> and the <i>Western Gazette</i>
Published book of poetry in England called "The Rose-Leaf Romance"
Moved back to the USA
Served in the Canadian Army and later the Royal Air Force during WWI
Worked as a bank clerk, a reporter for San Francisco's <i>Daily Express</i> , and as a bookkeeper; eventually fired as a result of his alcoholism
Sold first story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot," to <i>Black Mask</i> magazine; published in December issue
Wrote 19 stories published in <i>Black Mask, Dime Detective</i> and <i>Detective Fiction Week</i>
Published first novel "The Big Sleep" which had detective Philip Marlowe as protagonist
"Farewell, My Lovely" published; sold film rights the following year to RKO for $2000
First film credit "The Falcon Takes Over", based on "Farewell, My Lovely"
First film as co-writer (with director Billy Wilder), "Double Indemnity"; the 1972 TV version credits original screenplay as partial basis
Only film as solo writer, "The Blue Dahlia"
Co-wrote the screenplay for "Strangers on a Train", directed by Alfred Hitchcock; last produced script
Published sixth Marlowe novel, "The Long Goodbye"