How two of Hollywood’s most famous detectives Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe were ‘named after and inspired by black private eye
‘Spade and Marlowe featured in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep
Historian claims they were inspired and named after Samuel MarloweHe was black detective who probed society murders and runaway starsCharacters created by writers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler
By MARK DUELL
FOR MAILONLINEPUBLISHED: 10:58 EDT, 16 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:16 EDT, 16 November 2014 e-mail 2.3kshares10View comments
Two of fiction’s most famous detectives were inspired by a black private eye, it has been claimed.Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe – portrayed by actor Humphrey Bogart in classic films The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep – were inspired and named after Samuel Marlowe, a historian believes.Samuel Marlowe was a black detective who investigated society murders and runaway celebrities in Los Angeles in the 1930s – around the time that the two detectives were created in crime novels.
+5Portrayal: Humphrey Bogart (right) plays Philip Marlowe in 1946 film The Big Sleep, with actress Lauren Bacall (left).
It has been claimed the character was named after Samuel Marlowe, a black private eyeHistorian Louise Ransil, a former studio executive, believes Jamaican Samuel Marlowe was the inspiration for the characters created by writers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.According to reports in The Sunday Times and Los Angeles Times, the 61-year-old has made the deduction after examining a box of letters between Samuel Marlowe and the two authors.
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135 years after distraught author was forced…James Bond author in product placement row: William Boyd…Poor better off under the Tudors, says Mantel: Author…SHARE THIS ARTICLEShareMiss Ransil, who has worked on a book and film script about Samuel Marlowe, was transcribing files and letters following his death in 1991 at the age of 100 – but these have since gone missing.
The bizarre twist has left Miss Ransil desperate to find the letters, with the search focused at the moment on a warehouse in southern Los Angeles where they are thought to have been left. +5 +5Classic movie: Actor Humphrey Bogart played private eye Sam Spade (left and right, with actress Mary Astor) in John Huston’s 1941 film The Maltese Falcon, based on Dashiell Hammett’s 1929 novel of the same name
Neither Mr Hammett nor Mr Chandler have ever revealed the origins of their characters’ names.Hammett calling his detective Sam Spade, a rude but common word for a black person at the time, was a joke between them Louise Ransil, historianBut it has been claimed in the past that Philip Marlowe’s name came from Marlowe House at Dulwich College in south London, where Mr Chandler was educated.Samuel Marlowe, a veteran of the First World War, carried out six private investigations in the 1920s which were seen as too dirty or dangerous for white detectives.
At the time Mr Hammett and Mr Chandler were writing short stories for pulp fiction magazine Black Mask – and Samuel Marlowe wrote to them to correct procedural details in these.He then became friends with Mr Chandler – who hired him as a guide and bodyguard to research areas which were seen as ‘off-limits’ to white middle-class authors, according to Miss Ransil. +5 +5Authors:
A historian believes Jamaican Samuel Marlowe was the inspiration for the characters created by writers Dashiell Hammett (left) and Raymond Chandler (right)Speaking to The Sunday Times reporter John Harlow, Miss Ransil claimed that Mr Hammett and Samuel Marlowe got on well together.
She said: ‘They were friends who loved laughing together. Hammett calling his detective Sam Spade, a rude but common word for a black person at the time, was a joke between them.’…………………