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Richard Horatio Edgar (Freeman) Wallace (1875 - 1932)

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Richard Horatio Edgar (Edgar) Wallace formerly Freeman
Born in Greenwich, London, Englandmap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married (to ) in Simonstown, South Africamap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Died in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 11 Apr 2016
This page has been accessed 223 times.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [A much fuller account of Wallace's life and writings is given there.]

Edgar Wallace (1928) Born Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace on 1 April 1875 Greenwich, London, England Died 10 February 1932 (aged 56) Beverly Hills, California, United States Nationality British Occupation Crime writer, war correspondent, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright Known for Creation of King Kong Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was an English writer.

Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at 12. He joined the army at 21 and was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines, later publishing collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.

After an unsuccessful bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool (as one of David Lloyd George's Independent Liberals) in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO studios. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong (1933).

A prolific writer, one of Wallace's publishers claimed that a quarter of all books then read in England were written by him. As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace's work. He is remembered for the creation of King Kong, as a writer of 'the colonial imagination', for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, and the Green Archer. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions and The Economist describes him as "one of the most prolific thriller writers of the [20th] century", although few of his books are still in print in the UK.

[Wallace had been entertained by the Caldecotts when he was in Simonstown, South Africa and had been greatly impressed by them. It seems that the admiration was not mutual.] He was posted in South Africa with the West Kent Regiment, in 1896. He disliked army life but managed to arrange a transfer to the Royal Army Medical Corps, which was less arduous but more unpleasant, and so transferred again to the Press Corps, which he found suited him better. In 1901, while in South Africa, Wallace married Ivy Maude Caldecott (1879–1926), although her father, a Wesleyan missionary, Reverend William Shaw Caldecott, was strongly opposed to the marriage. The couple's first child, Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace died suddenly from meningitis in 1903 and they returned to London soon after, deep in debt. The family lived continuously in a state of near-bankruptcy, Ivy having to sell her jewellery for food. Wallace worked for the Mail in London and began writing detective stories in a bid to earn quick money. A son, Bryan, was born in 1904 followed by a daughter, Patricia in 1908.

The period from 1908 to 1932 were the most prolific of Wallace's life. Initially he wrote mainly in order to satisfy creditors in the UK and South Africa. The success of his books began to rehabilitate his reputation as a journalist and he began reporting from horse racing circles. He wrote for the Week-End and the Evening News, becoming an editor for Week-End Racing Supplement and started his own racing papers Bibury's and R. E. Walton's Weekly, buying many racehorses of his own. He lost many thousands gambling and despite his success spent large sums on an extravagant lifestyle he could not afford. During 1916, Ivy had her last child, Michael Blair Wallace by Edgar and filed for divorce in 1918. Wallace's ex-wife Ivy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1923 and though the tumour was successfully removed, it returned terminally by 1925 and she died in 1926.

Ivy moved to Tunbridge Wells with the children and Wallace drew closer to his secretary, Ethel Violet King (1896–1933), daughter of banker Frederick King. They married in 1921 and Penelope Wallace was born to them in 1923.

Violet Wallace outlived her husband by only 14 months, dying suddenly in April 1933 at the age of 33 while the estate was still deep in debt.

Baptised - 11 Apr 1875 Greenwich (Parents Walter and Mary Jane Wallace, Walter Wallace listed as a comedian).

Adopted by George Freeman and Clara (Richardson) Freeman.

Census 1881 - 2 Ingoldthorpe Grove, Camberwell.

Census 1891 - 2 Ingoldthorpe Grove, Camberwell (Machine Boy).

Census 1911 - 6 Tressillian Crescent, Brockley (Journalist Editor).

Probate - 5 May 1932 to Violet Wallace (widow) of 31 Portland Place, Westminster - Effects £18335 5s.

Buried - Fern Lane Cemetery, Little Marlow, Bucks.


  • [McArthur-306 : Ian McArthur - 11 Apr 2016]

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No known carriers of Edgar's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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On 30 Sep 2018 at 19:54 GMT Karen (Finnerty) Butler wrote:

Edgar was my 1st cousin 3x removed

Edgar is 14 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 22 degrees from Burl Ives and 12 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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