Anthony Boucher was born William Anthony Parker White on August 21, 1911, in Oakland, California. He was the only child of James Taylor White and Mary Ellen (née Parker) White, both physicians and both descended from pioneers of the California/Oregon region. His maternal grandfather was a lawyer and a superior court judge, and his paternal grandfather was a captain in the United States Navy. Despite being an invalid during most of his teenage years, Boucher was graduated from Pasadena High School in 1928 and from Pasadena Junior College in 1930. From 1930 to 1932, he attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in German. He spent most of his time outside classes at USC in acting, writing, and directing for little theater. Boucher was graduated from USC in 1932 with a bachelor of arts and an undergraduate record sufficient for election to Phi Beta Kappa and the offer of a graduate scholarship from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his master of arts degree from that institution in 1934 on acceptance of his thesis, “The Duality of Impressionism in Recent German Drama.”
The academic life apparently having lost its appeal for Boucher after he received the master of arts degree (he had planned to be a teacher of languages), he embarked on an unsuccessful career as a playwright. When his plays failed to sell, he tried his hand at mystery writing and sold his first novel to Simon and Schuster in 1936 (it was published...
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