Dashiell Hammett

Novelist, Screenwriter, Messenger
A novelist who parlayed his experience as a Pinkerton operative into a series of taut, precisely observed detective fictions, Dashiell Hammett not only revolutionized the genre and elevated it to the stature of true ... Read more »
Born: 05/27/1894 in St Mary's County, Maryland, USA

Filmography

Writer (12)

No Good Deed 2003 (Movie)

(Short Story: THE HOUSE OF TURK STREET) (Source Material)

Last Man Standing 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Source Material (from novel)

The Black Bird 1975 (Movie)

("The Maltese Falcon") (Characters as Source Material)

The Thin Man 1957 - 1959 (TV Show)

Characters as Source Material

The Maltese Falcon 1941 (Movie)

("The Maltese Falcon") (Source Material (from novel))

After the Thin Man 1935 (Movie)

(From Story)

Satan Met a Lady 1935 (Movie)

("The Maltese Falcon") (Source Material (from novel))

The Thin Man 1933 (Movie)

("The Thin Man") (Source Material (from novel))

The Dain Curse (TV Show)

Source Material (from novel)

The Glass Key (Movie)

(Book Author)

Watch on the Rhine (Movie)

(Screenwriter)

Woman in the Dark (Movie)

(Short Story Author)

Biography

A novelist who parlayed his experience as a Pinkerton operative into a series of taut, precisely observed detective fictions, Dashiell Hammett not only revolutionized the genre and elevated it to the stature of true literature, but heavily influenced authors and filmmakers for generations to come. Establishing himself as a short story writer in the pages of the mystery magazine Black Mask in the early 1920s, Hammett enjoyed great success with the publication of his first three novels by the end of the decade. Fame took him to Hollywood where film adaptations of "The Thin Man" (1934), "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) and "The Glass Key" (1942), made Hammett a household name and a wealthy man. Sadly, the end of the author's writing career virtually coincided with the height of his fame. After being blacklisted by Hollywood and spending several months in prison due to his left-leaning politics in 1951, the chronically ill Hammett spent his remaining years in the care of revered playwright Lillian Hellman, his on-again, off-again companion for 30 years. Long after his death, Hammett's influence could be seen in the works of such acclaimed filmmakers as Akira Kurosawa, Sergio Leone and the Coen Brothers, as well as novelists like Ross Macdonald and James Ellroy. A subject of great interest, Hammett himself was portrayed in the films "Julia" (1977) and "Hammett" (1982). While his contribution to American fiction was clear, Hammett's impact on storytelling in the mediums of film and television over the decades could not be overstated.

Relationships

Annie Bond Hammett

Mother

Josephine Dolan

Wife
met in 1920 when she was a nurse at the Cushman Institute married on July 7, 1921 when she was pregnant with first child separated in 1926 after birth of second child in part because of his recurring health problems permanently separated in 1929 divorced in 1937

Richard Hammett

Father

Josephine Hammett

Daughter
born in May 1926 wrote introduction to book of father's letters

Mary Hammett

Daughter
born in October 1921

Richard Hammett

Brother
younger

Reba Hammett

Sister
older

Lillian Hellman Screenplay

Companion
began on-again, off-again relationship in 1930 that lasted until his 1961 death

Nell Martin

Companion
together in 1929 dedicated "The Glass Key" to her

Julie Rivett

Granddaughter
co-edited a volume of Hammett's letters published in 2001

EDUCATION

Munson's Business College

San Francisco , California 1922
trained to be a reporter

dropped out at age 14

Milestones

1999

Portrayed by playwright and actor Sam Shepard in the A&E biopic "Dash and Lilly"

1992

Forrest once again portrayed the writer in the HBO drama "Citizen Cohn"

1982

Wim Wenders directed "Hammett", a fictionalized hommage to the writer, starring Frederic Forrest

1977

Portrayed by Jason Robards in an Oscar-winning turn in "Julia", adapted from parts of Lillian Hellman's book "Pentimento"

1955

Suffered first heart attack

1951

Named as a communist before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and subsequently jailed for six months for his refusal to cooperate

1946

Taught creative writing at the Jefferson School of Social Science

1942

Sole produced screenplay, an adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play, "Watch on the Rhine"

1941

Enlisted in the US Army; posted to the Aleutian Islands in 1943; produced newspaper The Arkadian

1940

John Huston adapted and directed the now classic version of "The Maltese Falcon"

1934

MGM produced sparkling adaptation of "The Thin Man"

1934

Hired by William Randolph Hearst's King Features Syndicate to pen dialogue for the comic strip "Dashiell Hammett's Secret Agent X-9"; deal lasted only one year

1933

Published last novel, "The Thin Man"; four years later sold all rights to the characters for $40,000

1931

Contracted by Paramount to write original stories; first produced one was "City Streets"

1931

First screen version of "The Maltese Falcon" produced at Warner Bros.

1930

First feature adapted from one of his novels, "Roadhouse Nights", based on "Red Harvest"

1929

Published first novel "Red Harvest"; had originally been serialized in Black Mask

1926

Began writing advertising copy

1923

Published "Arson Plus", the first Continental Op story in Black Mask; used pseudonym Peter Collinson

1922

Because of recurring health problems, quit job as a Pinkerton detective

1921

Settled in San Francisco

1920

TB flared up again; hospitalized at the Cushman Institute in Tacoma, Washington

1918

Enlisted in the Army during WWI; contracted tuberculosis and discharged on a disability pension

1915

Accepted work at the local branch of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Baltimore

1900

When father switched political parties, family forced to move from Maryland farm; briefly lived in Philadelphia before settling in Baltimore (date approximate)

While employed by Pinkerton, traveled the USA on jobs

NBC TV series adaptation of "The Thin Man" produced

Returned to work at Pinkerton; eventually sent to Spokane, Washington in 1920

SIMILAR ARTICLES