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.