Robert Ingersoll Wilder (Richmond, Virginia January 25, 1901 – San Diego, California August 22, 1974) was an American novelist, playwright and screenwriter.
He was the son of a minister-turned-lawyer-turned-doctor-turned-dentist who was still going to college when his son was born. Wilder's childhood was spent at Daytona Beach, Florida. Following a stint in the U.S. Army during World War I, he was educated at Stetson University and Columbia University. At various times in his life, Mr. Wilder was a soda jerk, a ship fitter, a theater usher, a shipping clerk, a newspaper copyboy, leader of a criminal gang, "a publicity agent" (Claudette Colbert was among his clients), a radio executive, and a journalist (for The New York Sun).
Wilder traveled widely and contributed stories to The New Yorker, among other publications. Two of his plays were Sweet Chariot, based on the life and career of African-American activist Marcus Garvey, and Stardust, both produced on Broadway, at a time when Wilder was living in Bayside, New York.
Probably Wilder's best-known book is the novel Flamingo Road (1942). With his wife, Sally, he adapted it into the 1946 play of the same name. He then wrote the screenplay for the 1949 film version, starring Joan Crawford. He wrote the screenplay for the Western The Big Country (1958), directed by William Wyler. A later novel, Wind from the Carolinas, was first published in 1964.
Wilder died in August 1974. His papers are held at the Gottlieb Library at Boston University. For the early 1980s Flamingo Road TV series, Wilder was credited as its creator.
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