Robert Bloch was born 100 years ago

Robert Bloch in 1976
Robert Bloch in 1976

Robert Albert Bloch (Photo ©Will Hart) was born on April 5, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Robert Bloch’s interest towards the horror genre began when he was still a child and he got terrified when he went to the cinema alone to watch the movie “The Phantom of the Opera”. While attending high school, he published his first story in the school newspaper. He became an avid reader of the pulp magazines, and in particular of “Weird Tales”.

In 1933, Robert Bloch wrote a letter to H.P. Lovecraft, who at the time was publishing his stories regularly on “Weird Tales”. Between the two of them an epistolary relationship began that also included tips on writing for the young Bloch. Later, Bloch started exchanging letters with other authors of the horror genre such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith.

In 1934, Bloch published the story “Lilies” on the semi-professional magazine “Marvel Tales”. After a few months, he started publishing his stories on “Weird Tales” as well. His first stories were strongly influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, so much that a part of them was set in the fictional universe of the so-called “Cthulhu Mythos”. Lovecraft’s death deeply marked Bloch, who gradually shifted his efforts toward different stories and also into science fiction.

Over the years, Robert Bloch’s activity also expanded to radio productions, especially as the author of various genres but also as an actor. This type of activity became increasingly important for him but he kept on publishing literature, so much that in 1947 he published his first novel, a thriller titled “The Scarf”.

In the ’50s, the Robert Bloch’s activity continued both in the literary field and in radio and was further expanded when he started working for television productions. The skills he had acquired in moving from one genre to another was seen in 1959, when he won the Hugo Award for the best science fiction short story with “That Hell-Bound Train” and he published the thriller / horror novel “Psycho”, which won the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The novel gave him great fame among the general public following its adaptation into the famous movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

In the ’60s, the screenwriting activity became important for Robert Bloch, who wrote screenplays for television series mainly, from thrillers such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” to science fiction such as the original “Star Trek” series. He also wrote screenplays for several movies, sometimes original ones and sometimes based on his stories.

Various Robert Bloch activities continued in the following decades with other awards that again showed his versatility going from the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first World Fantasy Convention in 1975 until the Honor of Master of Ceremonies at the first World Horror Convention in 1991.

Robert Bloch died on September 23, 1994. He left a legacy of dozens of novels, screenplays and short stories of various genres. During his life he received many important awards that show the importance of this author in the field of literature, cinema and television.




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