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Robert Ardrey

Robert Ardrey was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 16, 1908. He was the son of Marie Haswell and Robert Leslie Ardrey, an editor and publisher. Ardrey studied anthropology at the University of Chicago, but with the encouragement of Thornton Wilder, he pursued a career in writing. Ardrey's first success as a writer came in 1934 when his play House On Fire was revised into Star Spangled and ran on Broadway for twenty-three performances. Two of his plays, How To Get Tough About It and Casey Jones, were produced in 1937 and 1938. Ardrey's Thunder Rock was produced in 1939. That same year, Ardrey made an unaccredited contribution to the 1940 movie Kitty Foyle. Ardrey’s first movie credit was awarded later that year for the screenplay of They Knew What They Wanted. Meanwhile, Thunder Rock was transferred to the London stage. It was so popular abroad that the rights were acquired by Charter Films, and it was made into a successful movie in 1942. By then, Ardrey had found his niche in Hollywood, working on screenplays for many major studios. In the 1950s, Ardrey returned to his academic training in anthropology and the behavioral sciences. His works in that area included African Genesis (1961), Territorial Imperative (1966), The Social Contract (1970), and The Hunting Hypothesis (1977), all of which became standard texts in anthropology. Ardrey died in South Africa on January 14, 1980.


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