Richard Edward Connell Biography

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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Richard Connell was born October 17, 1893, in Duchess County near the Hudson River in New York State—not far from Theodore Roosevelt's homestead. At the age of ten, he started writing for the Poughkeepsie News-Press, his father's newspaper, as a baseball reporter. Later, while attending Georgetown College in Washington D.C., Richard served as secretary to his father in Congress. Following his father's death in 1912, Connell enrolled at Harvard University where he served as editor for both the Daily Crimson and the Lampoon. After Harvard, Connell went to work for the New York American, a newspaper in New York City. He also served with American forces in World War I. In 1925, following the publication of "The Most Dangerous Game," which won him the O'Henry Memorial Award for short fiction, Connell moved to Beverly Hills, California, where he continued his career as a freelance writer.

Richard Connell was one of the most prolific short story writers of the early-twentieth-century, writing more than three hundred stories, many of which were published in popular magazines of the day, such as The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. His most widely known story is "The Most Dangerous Game," which has been in print continuously since 1924. Many of his stories were published in three collections: The Sin of Monsieur Petipon (1922), Apes and Angels (1924), and Ironies (1930). Though Connell did not target young adult readers with his stories or books, "The Most Dangerous Game" is often read by young adults and is often included in collections of stories for young adults.

Connell lived in California writing short stories, novels, and motion picture scripts until his death in 1949. He wrote three novels: Mad Lover, Playboy, and What Ho! Among Connell's many screenplays are Seven Faces and Brother Orchid, which starred Hollywood legends Edward G. Robinson and Humphry Bogart.

Connell was a professional writer for forty-six years. It was the only life he knew. A trained reporter, he drew not only from his own experiences and imaginations, but also from all those he had interviewed and written about over the years. As a veteran of World War I, he witnessed first hand man's inhumanity to man and the horrors of war. "The Most Dangerous Game" reflects Connell's intense social consciousness, addressing some of the most pressing issues of the early twentieth century in a thoughtful and provocative manner.


(Short Stories for Students)

Richard Connell was a prolific writer in the first several decades of the twentieth century. He was born October 17, 1893, in a New York state community near the Hudson River, not far from Theodore Roosevelt's homestead. He started his writing career early, working as a reporter for the Poughkeepsie News-Press while still in high school. He spent a year at Georgetown College (now University) in Washington, D.C. while working as a secretary for his father, who was a member of Congress. When his father died in 1912, Connell moved back East to attend Harvard University. There he exercised his interest in writing by serving as an editor for both the Daily Crimson and the Lampoon, a precursor to the popular National Lampoon satire magazine. Around this time he also worked as a reporter for the New York American newspaper and served in World War I.

Throughout his career, Connell variously wrote novels, plays, short stories, and screenplays for Hollywood movies. Among the screenplays he wrote are Seven Faces and Brother Orchid, a mob tale starring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. Most of Connell's fiction was published in the 1920s and 1930s, including the novels Mad Lover, Playboy, and What Ho! He was a prolific fiction writer. His stories, more than 300 in all, were frequently published in such popular magazines as The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers. Many of these were later published in collections, including The Sin of Monsieur Petipon in 1922, Apes and Angels in 1924, and Ironies in 1930.

Some of these collections met with mixed reviews from critics. In 1925, a reviewer for the New York Times commented that his collection of stories titled Variety "ranks, though high, in the great army of the second-rate." "The Most Dangerous Game," however, has remained popular since its initial publication. One of its strengths is its finely crafted action, which provides a type of suspense and adventure rare in short fiction. Connell died of a heart attack in Beverly Hills, California, on November 22, 1949.