Author, Master of Adventure. Tarzan began with one novel followed by twenty nine others which then transcended into some forty movies including a Disney animated cartoon classic, television programs, a Sunday comic strip, hundreds of comic books and the marketing of Tarzan merchandise... toys, wearing apparel and gasoline. The list is endless. Edgar Rice Burroughs became one of the twentieth century's most popular fiction authors. The prolific author also wrote thrilling adventures set on other planets and lost lands and civilizations He was born to George and Mary Burroughs the youngest of four boys on Chicago's west side. George was a former civil war veteran and was in the business of manufacturing batteries. Edgar's education was very erratic with enrollment and then transfers to various Chicago schools. He then attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts then transferring to the Michigan Military Academy. He had a West Point appointment but failed the entrance exam. Still intent on a military career, he joined the US Army and was stationed with Troop B, 7th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory but discharged after being diagnosed with a heart problem. Burroughs became nomadic and a drifter engaging in an endless parade of meaningless jobs ending up working as a pencil sharpener wholesaler in Chicago. He was a fan and veracious reader of pulp fiction magazines which influenced him to try his hand at writing. Thusly, Edgar embarked on a literary career at age 37 and his creative imagination carried him to fame and fortune. In 1912, he was published with "A Princess of Mars" under the title "Under the Moons of Mars" in six parts by "All Story Magazine" and in the same year and the same magazine published his first "Tarzan of the Apes" segment. Two years later it appeared in a hardback volume. In 1918, the first Tarzan movie made its premier on Broadway with Elmo Lincoln playing the jungle man. It was the first film to gross over a million dollars. Edgar moved his family to the San Fernando Valley in 1919 converting a huge estate formally owed by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times into a ranch. A steady flow of novels found their way to the publishers, ninety one in all which sold in the hundreds of millions of copies while printed in over thirty languages. He was in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese bombing and remained during the war years as a correspondent. He battled heart problems his entire life. While alone in his Encino home reading the Sunday comics in bed, a heart attack claimed him. He was cremated and according to his wishes, the ashes were eventually buried beneath a large walnut tree in the front of his office at 18354 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, California. Legacy...His 1912 first story "Under the Moons of Mars" serialized in "All Story" magazine was the basis for Astrologics naming a large crater on Mars, the "Burroughs Crater." An honor closer to home; Burroughs large ranch called "Tarzana" located in the San Fernando valley became the name of a city. The surrounding area was barren with few neighbors until development occurred and soon a community surrounded the ranch becoming so large that residents voted to incorporate in 1928 naming it Tarzana in honor of Burroughs. In a bit of trivia, cartoonist Hal Foster was commissioned to do the first newspaper comic strip featuring Tarzan in 1929. The Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc Company offices are located on Ventura Blvd in Tarzana and the setting is literally a jungle oasis housing thousands and thousands of memorabilia from the era of the Tarzan creator. His former home in Chicago's Oak Park where he grew up is still standing and a bronze marker noting this was placed in the front yard at 700 Linden Avenue on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield