Born and reared in Charleston, South Carolina, Octavus Roy Cohen attended Porter Military Academy, from which he was graduated in 1908. After receiving his bachelor of science degree from Clemson College in 1911, Cohen worked first as a civil engineer, then as a journalist, before he passed the bar in 1913. Two years later, he decided to become a writer full time. In October of 1914, he was married to Inez Lopez; they had one son, named for his father. In 1935, the family moved to New York, where Cohen continued his writing career; later, they moved to Los Angeles.
Cohen’s first book, The Other Woman (1917; with J. U. Giesy), marked the beginning of his prolific literary career. According to The New York Times, at the time of his death he had written at least 250 short stories and contributed fiction to The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s magazine as well as producing “more than sixty books [and] five plays.” In addition, he had written for the highly popular Amos ’n’ Andy radio show from 1945 to 1946. One of his plays, Come Seven (pr. 1920), which was adapted from his novel of the same name, had a run of more than seventy performances on Broadway. Cohen died of a stroke at the age of sixty-seven in Los Angeles.