Edit
Roald Dahl Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (9) | Trivia (46) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 13 September 1916Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Date of Death 23 November 1990Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK  (leukemia)
Height 6' 6" (1.98 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916. He served as a fighter pilot in the British R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) during World War II. He made a forced landing in the Libyan Desert and was severely injured. As a result, he spent five months in a Royal Navy hospital in Alexandria. Dahl is known for how he relates suspenseful events in a simple tone.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matt Dicker

Roald Dahl was a famous short story writer who became one of the most successful and beloved children's writers of all time. He also wrote several screenplays. Born in Wales to parents of Norwegian descent, he attended British schools, but never went to university, opting to go work for the Shell Oil Company instead. He worked there for a few years, but when World War II started, he joined the RAF. While assistant air attaché in Washington DC, he began writing, which after the war became his life-long vocation. He wrote two novels, two autobiographies, nineteen children's books, and many short story collections, the most notable being Kiss Kiss (1959) and Switch Bitch (1974). He died of leukemia in 1990.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Liccy Dahl (15 December 1983 - 23 November 1990) (his death)
Patricia Neal (2 July 1953 - 17 November 1983) (divorced) (5 children)

Trade Mark (9)

Gluttonous characters: Augustus Gloop from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Bruno Jenkins from The Witches, Boggis from Fantastic Mr Fox and Bruce Bogtrotter from Matilda.
Main characters are often children.
Villains are often adults who hate children
Orphans; James from James and the Giant Peach, the main character from The Witches and Sophie from The BFG.
His villains are often extremely ugly
His books all contain illustrations by Quentin Blake
Often made up nonsense words like "Mugglewump", "Vermicious Knids", "Oompa Loompa", "Fleshlump eater", etc.
Protagonists who escape abusive adults through fantastical or unbelievable means
Bizarre, dark sense of humor

Trivia (46)

Parents were Norwegian
Grandfather of British model Sophie Dahl
Credited with coining the term 'Gremlin' during the Second World War. These were little men who lived inside fighter plane engines, causing them to stall at the worst possible time.
The Helga (Luke's grandmother) character in "The Witches" was based on his own Norwegian grandmother, who he said was a tough and fearless woman.
Nearly lost his nose in a car accident.
Father died of pneumonia when Roald was 3.
Daughter, Olivia, died of the measles at age 7.
Wrote his novels in his garden shed.
He allegedly declined to receive an O.B.E. (Officer of the order of the British Empire) in 1986.
He replaced Richard Maibaum as screenwriter for You Only Live Twice (1967) at the last minute. Maibaum returned to the chair in 1969.
Wrote two screenplays based on books by Ian Fleming: You Only Live Twice (1967) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Coincidentally, Fleming's cousin, Christopher Lee, appears in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), based on Dahl's book. He also appears in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), which is named after a word Dahl coined.
In one of Dahl's short stories, "Beware of the Dog," a fighter pilot is shot down during wartime and loses one of his legs. He recovers in a hospital only to discover that he is in Nazi-occupied France. Although the story is based on Dahl's WWII experiences, it is not entirely autobiographical; Dahl did crash his plane, but did not lose a leg or become a prisoner of war.
Flew Hawker Hurricanes in 80 Squadron in WWII.
He strongly disliked Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), which was based upon his children's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". He felt it made the story world, which he had created, too peaceful, to his personality.
His only son, Theo Dahl, suffered a brain injury when his baby carriage was struck by a taxi when the boy was just four-months old. The most serious of his injuries was hydrocephalus (commonly known as water on the brain). Dahl got together with a pair of friends - a neurosurgeon and an engineer - and created a device called the Wade-Dahl-Till valve to alleviate cranial pressure. Theo recovered before the device was perfected, but the device allowed thousands of others suffering from hydrocephalus to recover from their injuries, also!

His book, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", is dedicated to Theo, who almost died.
When his first wife, actress Patricia Neal, started suffering a series of devastating strokes in 1965, he was appalled at the lack of effective rehabilitation. He subsequently designed techniques that restored her to full functionality after the doctors had told him she would never recover. His techniques are now standard procedure throughout the world in the numerous treatments of victims of a stroke.
He fathered five children, four daughters and one son with first wife, Patricia Neal: Olivia Twenty Dahl was born on Wednesday, April 20th, 1955 and she died from measles' illness on Saturday, November 17th, 1962. His second daughter, Chantal "Tessa" Sophia Dahl, was born on Thursday, April 11th, 1957, aka Tessa Dahl. His only son was the third of five, Theo Matthew Roald Dahl was born on Saturday, July 30th, 1960, aka Theo Dahl. Third daughter, Ophelia Magdalena Dahl was born on Tuesday, May 12th, 1964, aka Ophelia Dahl, and Lucy Neal Dahl was born on Wednesday, August 4th, 1965, aka Lucy Dahl.
Enjoyed drinking both whiskey and wine in the evenings.
In the company of adults, he became bored quite quickly.
Loved to eat chocolate, and admitted that he ate too much of it.
Had a bad back, which caused him to become ill-tempered.
Enjoyed betting on horse races, even though he usually lost.
Honored by a set of British commemorative postage stamps issued 10 January 2012. The stamps feature illustrations by Quentin Blake, which were originally used in the following children's books by Dahl: "Fantastic Mr. Fox", "The Twits", "The Witches", "James and the Giant Peach", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Matilda", and "The BFG".
His short story "Beware Of The Dog" is officially the basis for the 1964 film, "36 Hours", although the plot is much altered and extended. According to one of the biographies of Dahl, the film was written without reference to him or his story, and it was only after the leading female role in the film was offered to his then wife Patricia Neal that he learned of the film at all. The similarity between the script and his original plot was obvious, and, with a great deal of money already invested, M-G-M was in no mood to be sued by Dahl for plagiarism. They quickly agreed to pay him a large sum of money for the film rights to his short story and gave him appropriate credit. (Eva Marie Saint took the female lead in the film).
Roald died 3 months after the movie "The Witches" was released, which is one of his many books that he wrote.
He was never seen as a particularly talented writer in his school years, with one of his English teachers writing in his school report "I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended.
Had an interest in photography and often carried a camera around with him.
He was portrayed by Dirk Bogarde in the Made-for-TV movie "The Patricia Neal Story.".
Dahl's parents were Norwegian, but he was born in Llandaff, Glamorgan in 1916 and educated at Repton School.
Fellow author Neil Gaiman has been likened to a Dahl for his generation, because they both wrote dark fantasies as if they were true, and they shared the ability to remind a reader of what it was like to be a child.
Dahl's WWII novel Over to You was published in a magazine in 1946 and then as a book in 1973. The stories in Over to You were published in The Saturday Evening Post, Tomorrow, Harper's Magazine, Ladies' Home Journal, and Town and Country. Over to You doesn't refer to anyone in particular, the pilots are not the names of people he knew, and when Dahl says "I" that doesn't mean he's talking about himself. Dahl speaks with some respect for the German pilots in the book.
At the start of World War II, Dahl enlisted in the RAF at Nairobi. He was severely wounded after joining a fighter squadron in Libya, but later saw service as a fighter pilot in Greece and Syria. In 1942, he went to Washington as Assistant Air Attaché, where he started to write, and then transferred to Intelligence, ending the war as a wing commander. His first twelve short stories, based on his wartime experiences, were originally published in leading American magazines and than as a book, Over to You.
Dahl's novel My Uncle Oswald was much praised and edited his Book of Ghost Stories.
The Times described Dahl as "one of the most widely read and influential writers of our generation" and wrote in its obituary: "children loved his stories and made him their favorite... They will be classics of the future".
Dahl was badly wounded in Libya during World War II, but he served in the RAF in Greece and Syria. His book Over to You draws on those experiences and friends and colleagues to convey the bizarre reality of a pilot's existence and the daily possibility of death.
Dahl lost the use of his eyes during World War II but regained his sight in recovery.
Dahl has written two autobiographies, Boy and Going Solo.
His stories are highly acclaimed and widely translated and have become worldwide bestsellers. One of the most successful and well known of all children's writers, his books are read by children everywhere.
The Witches won the 1983 Whitbread Award.
Dahl's TV series Tales of the Unexpected (1979) dramatized a selection of his short stories.
Dahl wrote for adults too.
His short story Only This may have inspired the climax of the Steven Spielberg film Always (1989) where Pete's spirit guides Durinda to land a plane while in the cockpit with her.
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator has never been made into a film; he denied the film rights after his profound disappointment with Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971). The Magic Finger has never been made into a film either, or George's Marvellous Medicine, but a film of The Twits is in production.
During the last year of Dahl's life, he compiled a book of anecdotes and recipes with his wife Liccy Dahl under his regular publisher Penguin in 1996 as his Cookbook.
The unauthorized biography of Dahl by Jeremy Treglown was extremely defamatory, claiming that he was a snob, very selfish and rude, a serial adulterer during his marriage to Patricia Neal, ungrateful and a virulent anti-Semite. His penchant for extra-marital affairs was confirmed by Patricia Neal in a television interview after his death, but his children defended him against the majority of Treglown's charges, and he had another champion (with reservations) in Dirk Bogarde, who played him in a TV movie and reviewed Treglown's book unfavorably in the London "Daily Telegraph" (concluding famously with the words, "He wasn't really such a shit, you know").
On a table near to his right hand, when he was sitting in his chair in his writing shed, he had collected all sorts of memorabilia; various things sent to him by fans or schoolchildren, a ball of silver paper from bars of chocolate which he had collected over the years since he was a young man and a part of his own hip bone that had been removed from him.

Personal Quotes (7)

[when asked what the his formula for success was as an author of children's books] Conspiring with children against adults.
[1988 interview with Todd McCormack] When you're writing a book, with people in it as opposed to animals, it is no good having people who are ordinary, because they are not going to interest your readers at all. Every writer in the world has to use the characters that have something interesting about them and this is even more true in children's books. I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty or bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel. If they are ugly, you make them extremely ugly. That, I think, is fun and makes an impact.
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.
My faults and foibles are legion.
[his novel Over to You] Ten stories of flyers and flying.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page