Dashiell Hammett Facts

Dashiell Hammett Facts
Dashiell Hammett was an American detective-novelist best known for his characters Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles. He was born Samuel Dashiell Hammett on May 27th, 1894 in Saint Mary's County, Maryland, to Richard Thomas Hammett and Anne Bond Dashiell. He dropped out of school when he was 13, and worked a variety of jobs before starting a job with the Pinkerton Detective Agency when he was 20. He joined the US Army during World War I, and married a nurse who cared for him when he contracted tuberculosis. His health forced him to quit his detective job after the war, but he took his experiences and began writing detective stories.
Interesting Dashiell Hammett Facts:
Dashiell Hammett's first short detective story was published in 1922, in the magazine The Smart Set.
Dashiell Hammett's short story Arson Plus was published in 1923 in the magazine Black Mask, under the pen name Peter Collinson.
Dashiell Hammett wrote five novels during his career including Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), The Maltese Falcon (1930), The Glass Key (1931), and The Thin Man (1934).
Dashiell Hammett's characters were 'hard boiled'. They were generally no-nonsense men who drank but lived by a code of honor and had a sense of morality. Sam Spade was Dashiell Hammett's main detective character from 1929 on, becoming the symbol of the American private detective.
The Maltese Falcon was adapted for film in the 1941 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart.
The Maltese Falcon was so popular it had seven print runs in its first year on book shelves.
In addition to the five novels, Dashiell Hammett wrote a large number of short fiction pieces, short story collections, screenplays, and his work was included in several anthologies and other publications.
By 1930 Dashiell Hammett's marriage was in bad shape and he moved to Hollywood. He had 2 daughters with his wife and continued to support them despite the fact that he had not been able to live with them for several years due to his tuberculosis.
In 1931 Dashiell Hammett started a 30 year relationship with Lillian Hellman, a playwright. They never married.
Dashiell Hammett joined the Communist Party USA in 1937, which caused him legal trouble later on. He served a six month jail sentence in a West Virginia federal penitentiary.
Dashiell Hammett testified before Joseph McCarthy's Senate in 1953, in a government effort to root out Communists in the entertainment industry. He was one of several people blacklisted in Hollywood.
Following the hearings he chose to live an isolated existence.
In 1955 Dashiell Hammett had a heart attack.
On January 10th, 1961 Dashiell Hammett died at the age of 67, in New York City. He died of lung cancer.
Although he wrote only five novels, Dashiell Hammett wrote a large number of short stories in the detective genre. He essentially created the detective sub-genre of fiction and his characters were so compelling they were portrayed not only in his books, but in film and television, by some of the most famous actors in Hollywood including Humphrey Bogart.
Dashiell Hammett is believed to be one of the most influential writers of the first half of the 20th century, inspiring generations of writers to come.

Related Links:
Authors Facts
Animals Facts
Literature Summary
Literature Quizzes