S. S. Van Dine
Van Dine was a writer who wrote detective novels. ‘S.S. Van Dine’ is actually a pseudonymous name for his birth name, Willard Huntington Wright. He created the fictional detective Philo Vance, a sleuth and aesthete who first appeared in books in the 1920s, then in films and on the radio.
Born to Archibald Davenport Wright and Annie Van Vranken Wright on October 15 1888, Van Dine grew up in his sibling’s shadow. His brother, Stanton, was a respected painter; one of the first American abstract artists. Willard was however was more humble in his strength. He was a self-taught writer, attended St. Vincent College, Pomona College, and Harvard University, despite not graduating.
At age 21, Wright began his professional writing career as literary editor of the Los Angeles Times, where – describing himself as "'Esthetic expert and psychological shark". He wrote book reviews for the newspaper. For romance and detective fiction in particular, he was especially brutal.
Van Dine died on April 11 1939, aged 50.