Rex Stout

Rex Stout

Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana, USA
Death 27 Oct 1975 (aged 88)
Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Ashes scattered at High Meadow, Brewster, New York
Memorial ID 6836574 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Author. Born in Noblesville, Indiana, one of nine children born to Lucetta Todhunter and John Stout, a teacher. As a child, the family moved to Wakarusa, Kansas, where he was recognized as something of a prodigy, he was said to have read the Bible in its entirety by the age of four and as a boy, he toured the state, solving complex math problems within seconds. He attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence before enlisting in the Navy where he spent two years as yeoman on President Theodore Roosevelt's yacht. He lived a vagabond existence for the four years following his service, before trying his hand at writing. From 1912 to 1916 he wrote fiction for such periodicals as 'All-Story Magazine,' 'Munsies,' and 'Everybody's' which published his monthly offerings. He then created the Education Thrift System which was presented to school children, for which he was paid by the bank for every child depositor he recruited. He quit the endeavor in 1927 after having netted almost half a million dollars, and traveled in Europe where he devoted himself to writing full time. His first novel, a psychological tale, 'How Like a God,' appeared in 1929, and was quickly followed by 'Seed on the Wind' and 'Forest Fire.' Critical but not financial successes. Following the stock market crash of 1929, he lost a great deal of the money, and after returning to the US, presented his first detective novel in hopes of a quick return. 'Fer-de-Lance' (1934) introduced his eccentric and reclusive detective, Nero Wolfe, and his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin. Both a financial and critical success, it was followed by many others including 'The League of Frightened Men' (1935), 'The Rubber Band' (1936), and 'Too Many Crooks' (1938). In 1939, he introduced a alternate crime solver, Tecumseh Fox, in 'Double for Death.' He appeared only twice more, in 'Bad for Business' (1940) and 'The Broken Vase ' (1941) before being dropped. During the Second World War, much of his attention went into the war effort. He joined the Fight for Freedom organization, the Council for Democracy, and The Committee to Defend America. He hosted the radio program, 'Speaking of Liberty,' and was chairman of the War Writers Board, therefore, only two novels appeared during the war years, 'Black Orchids” (1942) and 'Not Quite Dead Enough' (1944). After the war, he returned to Nero Wolfe and produced one or two novels every year. He was famous for writing only a single draft, never going back to reread or rewrite, producing some 72 Nero Wolfe books and stories over all, including 'The Silent Speaker' (1946), 'In the Best Families' (1950), 'Before Midnight' (1955), 'Too Many Clients' (1960), and 'The Doorbell Rang' (1965), possibly his most controversial novel which apparently arose from an enmity the author and J. Edgar Hoover had for one another. He served as President of the Authors Guild, and in 1958, became President of the Mystery Writers of America. In 1959, he received their Grand Master Award. His output only dropped when he entered his seventies, producing only five novels in the last decade of his life, the last, 'A Family Affair,' was published a few days before his death at age 88.

Bio by: Iola

Family Members


See more Stout memorials in:


How famous was Rex Stout?

Current rating:

63 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 6 Oct 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6836574
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rex Stout (3 Dec 1886–27 Oct 1975), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6836574, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Ashes scattered at High Meadow, Brewster, New York.