Pelham Grenville "Plum" Wodehouse, 1881 - 1975

portrait of P. G. Wodehouse
1904 portrait

Born: 15 October 1881, Guildford, Surrey, England, UK
Died: 14 February 1975, Southampton, New York

"Plum" was born in England while his mother was on a visit, his father served as a judge at Hong Kong at the time and the boy lived there for only three years before returning to England and a series of boarding schools. Apparently, he replaced family life with writing. For prep school he spent two years at Malvern House, not enjoying it, and transferred to Dulwich College where he edited the school magazine, sang and acted in theatrical productions, boxed, and played both cricket and rugby. He was expected to go to Oxford but a sudden drop in the value of the Indian rupee, in which his fathers pension was paid, forced him to take a job at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (now HSBC). In 1902 he took a gob at The Globe and began contributing articles to Punch, the British Vanity Fair, and various schoolboy's magazines. He moved to New York's Greenwich Village in 1909 and sold stories to Cosmopolitan, Collier's, and began to write regularly for the recently-established American Vanity Fair. He collaborated with Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and others on scripts and lyrics for musical comedies, eventually including lyrics to 250 songs in 30 shows to go with the 15 plays and 96 books he wrote over a 73-year career. He is probably best known for his stories of Bertie Wooster and his valet Reginald Jeeves, including 11 novels and 35 short stories between 1915 and 1974. In 1934 he moved to Le Touquet, France to avoid the double taxation of a Brit writing in the states, In 1940 the Germans occupied France and Wodehouse was interned for a year, after which he caused a scandal in England, including treason charges, for broadcasting a humorous radio show for American consumption from Berlin. As a result of this Wodehouse never again set foot in England, becoming a US citizen in 1955. With the bad feelings from that long behind him, health prevented him from retuning when he was made Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1975, six weeks before his death.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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