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Richard Edward Connell, Jr. (October 17, 1893 – November 22, 1949) was an American author and journalist, best known for his short story "The Most Dangerous Game." Connell was one of the best-known American short story writers of his time and his stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Collier's Weekly. Connell had equal success as a journalist and screenwriter. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 for best original story for the film Meet John Doe.

Family history

Richard Connell was the son of Richard Edward Connell Sr. (1857–1912) and Mary Miller Connell, born in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New Yorkmarker 1893. He had an older sister and two younger sisters. His father was a reporter and editor of the local newspaper. Connell Sr. took the position of police commissioner in Poughkeepsie and thus began his political career. In 1896, he was unsuccessful in a bid for the 57th United States Congress and failed again in 1898 and 1900 when he ran for the State assembly. He did become a delegate to the Democratic National Convention where he served in 1900 and 1904. Eventually Richard’s father won an election for the 62nd United States Congress in March 4, 1911 where he served until his death a year later on October 30, 1912. (He had been nominated in 1912 as the Democratic candidate for reelection to the Sixty-third Congress.)


At 10 years of age, while his father was still an editor for the New York Times, Richard Connell’s own interest was his writings. His stories earned him 10 cents each in addition to his coverage for baseball games. His love for the game later inspired short stories like "The Umps" and "Pitchers Are Peculiar". By the age of 18 he earned a position as city editor of the paper, increasing his pay to $16 a week. Richard attended Georgetown College (now University) in Washington, D.C.marker, but left a year later in 1911 to become a secretary for his father, Richard Edward Connell. A year after his father's death, Richard returned to college; this time to Harvard Universitymarker, where he became an editor for the Harvard Lampoonmarker and The Harvard Crimson. In one of his stories for The Crimson, Richard berated a New York newspaper editor who became enraged over the criticism and sued the Harvard newspaper for libel. Ironically, after graduating in 1915, Connell accepted a job working for the same newspaper editor who had sued over his editorial. While working as a reporter for the New York American, Connell received an attractive offer from the J. Walter Thompson Company and left the newspaper business to write advertising copy.

After the United States entered World War I in 1917, Connell enlisted and served with the 27th New York Division, where he offered his talents as the editor of the camp newspaper, Gas Attack. His unit also spent a year in Francemarker. When the war ended, Connell returned to his job of writing ad copy. Many of his short stories, such as "Heart of a Sloganeer" and "Once a Sloganeer" find their roots in his experiences with advertising.

In 1919 Richard Connell married Louise Herrick Fox; that year he also sold his first short story and left advertising to pursue freelance writing. He wrote several short stories including "A Friend of Napoleon" and "The Most Dangerous Game" (1924), sometimes known as "The Hounds of Zaroff", which originally appeared in the January 19, 1924 issue of Colliers. "The Most Dangerous Game" was awarded the O. Henry Award in 1924. Connell became one of the best-known American short story writers ; his stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Collier's Weekly. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best original story for 1941's Meet John Doe, directed by Frank Capra, which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Connell had equal success as a journalist and screenwriter. He died of a heart attack in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker in 1949 at the age of fifty-six.

Short Stories and Screen Stories

  • "Centenarian" (Century, July, 1916)
  • "The Most Dangerous Game" (Colliers, January 19, 1924)
  • "The Umps" (1924)
  • "Pitchers Are Peculiar" (1930)
  • "A Friend of Napoleon" (1923)
  • "Heart of a Sloganeer" (Saturday Evening Post, 1929)
  • "Once a Sloganeer" (1922)
  • "Cross-Eyed South-Paw" (Colliers, February 2, 1929)
  • "Black Chrysanthemums" (The New Yorker, 1927)
  • Meet John Doe (1941) (screen story)
  • Brother Orchid (1940) (screen story)
  • "Brother Orchid" (Colliers, May 21, 1938, short story)
  • Our Relations aka Double Trouble and Sailors' Downfall (1936) (screen story)
  • F-Man (1936) (screen story)
  • "If I Was Alone with You"
  • Dark Streets (1929) (screen story)
  • "One Hundred Dollars"
  • "Isles of Romance"
  • "A Little Bit of Broadway"
  • "Tropic of Capricorn"

Screenplays and Screenwriter

  • Luxury Liner (1948) (writer)
  • Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945) (writer)
  • Thrill of a Romance (1945) (writer)
  • Two Girls and a Sailor (1944) (writer)
  • Presenting Lily Mars (1943) (screenplay)
  • Rio Rita (1942) (screenplay)
  • Nice Girl? (1941) (writer)
  • Hired Wife (1940) (writer)
  • The Cowboy and the Lady (1938) (contributing writer) (uncredited)
  • Dr. Rhythm (1938) (writer)
  • Love on Toast (1937) (writer)
  • Okusama ni shirasu bekarazu (1937) (writer)
  • The Milky Way (1936) (writer)


  • The Mad Lover (1927)
  • Murder at Sea (1929)
  • Playboy (1936)
  • What Ho! (1937)

External links



  1. Registration of Richard E. Connell, Draft board 159, County of New York, State of New York. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
  2. 1900 U.S. Census, State of New York, County of Dutchess, enumeration district 28, p. 4A, family 78.

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