Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) was an English writer of comic fiction. He wrote over 90 books, 20 film scripts, 40 plays and 200 short stories and is one of the most widely read humorists of the 20th Century. His well-known characters, including the wise and ingenious Jeeves, manservant to Bertie Wooster, appear regularly in most of his work. Most of his stories are set in England, but Wodehouse spent a great deal of his life in America, particularly New York and Hollywood. He wrote constantly and once remarked how working a real job got in the way of his writing.
Wodehouse moved to France in 1934 for tax reasons and in 1940, at age 59, he was taken prisoner by the Germans and held for nearly a year. After he was given a typewriter in prison to pass the time, he wrote the book, Money in the Bank.
Wodehouse became involved in a wartime controversy upon his release, when he made six comedy broadcasts entitled, How to be an Internee Without Previous Training, which were anecdotes about life as a prisoner. His broadcasts were to the United States from German radio. The U.S. had not yet entered World War II and his broadcasts were not political, but Britain was furious he had broadcast over enemy radio, calling him a traitor and a Nazi collaborator, and Wodehouse was investigated and maligned.
Surprisingly, Wodehouse was shy, quiet and unworldly. Many of his supporters felt he was tricked into broadcasting the stories by the German propaganda minister. He was never prosecuted by Britain, and it was later concluded that what he did was foolish, but not politically motivated. In addition, he was later arrested by French authorities, but no charges were ever filed. Through all this, Wodehouse continued to write, but he never returned to Britain. He spent the rest of his life, from 1947, living in the U.S., where he received a dual citizenship and settled in the Southampton, Long Island resort town of Remensburg. In 1975, Britain finally officially forgave Wodehouse and awarded him the honor of knighthood. He died the next month, at age 93.
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