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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Guildford, Surrey, England, UK
Died in Southampton, New York, USA
Birth NamePelham Grenville Wodehouse
Nickname Plum

Mini Bio (1)

Master of comedy novelist Pelham (Plum) Grenville Wodehouse was born on October 15, 1881, in Guilford, Surrey, England. He died in hospital in Southampton, New York, on Valentine's day (February 14) 1975, from a heart attack after a long illness at age 93. In that time he managed to write close to 200 novels, short stories, plays, song lyrics and so on.

At the time of his birth, Plum's mother was visiting her sister in England, but after only a few weeks she and young Plum returned to Hong Kong, where his father was a magistrate. At an early age he was sent to school in Britain--Dulwich College in London.

At age 14, he moved with his parents in to what they would call "the old house." After completing school, he spent two years as a banker at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, but he soon switched jobs to the old Globe newspaper as a sports reporter and columnist on "By the way..." About that time he started to write his own little stories. At first he wrote school novels about life in the famous universities in England (for example, "The White Feather") and mainly for a boys magazine called "The Captain", but soon he developed a talent for comic dialogue and started to put his talents to that instead.

Success was just around the corner, and by 1910 he had established himself in such a way that he could spend time between residences in the US and France. It was also at about this time he acquired his obsession with golf, a sport around which many of his short stories circle--even though his handicap never came down below 18. In a few years he was reaching millions of readers in dozens of countries.

Plum met Ethel, an American widow who became the woman of his life, in 1913 and they married in 1914. World War II caught Plum in his newly-purchased home in Le Touquet in France, having tea with his wife and some friends. He was captured by German forces and put in a prison camp. He was treated well and got the means to keep writing his books. Joseph Goebbels, it was revealed later, understood what a big fish they had caught and lured Plum into giving some brief, humorous appearances on German radio. Being the political fool he was, Plum fell into the trap. The broadcasts, which were supposed to be heard in the US only, were redirected to Britain, in a cunning scheme to annoy British authorities. As word of the broadcasts spread, back in Britain Plum's readers and publisher went berserk. They wanted him charged with treason. However, it was obvious he had been tricked and as the war ended, he returned to America, where he became a citizen in 1955.

Hollywood claimed Wodehouse, but it soon became apparent that all they wanted was his name on the posters and ads. Still, his popularity increased to such a degree that in 1975, a few weeks before his death, he was forgiven his wartime mistakes by the British establishment and was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen. At the time of his knighthood he was in poor health and couldn't attend the ceremony. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, a devout Wodehouse fan, offered to go to the US to personally present the knighthood.

In his final years, Plum was in and out of the hospital with pneumonia, heart problems and lung failures. Seeking comfort, as always, in his typewriter, Sir Plum kept writing until the end. His last work is the unfinished "Sunset at Blandings", of which nine chapters were written before he died in 1975.

Lady Ethel lived until 1984. They had no mutual children, only from Ethel's daughter from her previous marriage, Leonora, who Plum adopted and who died during surgery in 1942, devastating Plum to his core.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jenz Kjellberg (dukedunstable@yahoo.se) (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (1)

Ethel Wodehouse (1914 - 14 February 1975) (his death)

Trivia (5)

Wrote lyrics for song "Bill" (music by Jerome Kern) used in musical, "Showboat".
P. G. Wodehouse became an American citizenship in 1955. He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 1975 New Year's Honours List for his services to literature, where he became Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.
Stepfather of Leonora. She died while undergoing surgery in the 1942.
Great granddaughter is actress Lisa Faulkner.
He was a keen admirer of Dick Van Dyke, whose sitcom of the early 60s he described as "easily the finest thing on TV".

Personal Quotes (13)

Every author really wants to have letters printed in the papers. Unable to make the grade, he drops down a rung of the ladder and writes books.
All the unhappy marriages come from the husbands having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him.
It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.
Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints that a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.
Jerry [Kern] generally does the music first and I put words to it. If I write a lyric without having to fit it to a tune, I always make it too much like a set of light verse, much too regular in meter. I think you get the best results by giving the composer his head and having the lyricist follow him.
He was white and shaken, like a dry martini.
The least thing upset him on the links. He missed the short putts because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows.
She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say 'when'.
I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
Memories are like mulligatawny soup in a cheap restaurant. It is best not to stir them.
Whatever may be said of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks.
Breakfast had been prepared by the kitchen maid, and indifferent performer who had used the scorched earth policy with the bacon.
I started violently, as if some unseen hand had goosed me.

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