Raymond Chandler was responsible for some of the greatest detective stories ever penned by an American writer. That image you have of a hard-boiled, hard-drinking gum shoe in a fedora surrounded my crime, mystery, beautiful women, and danger? That is all Chandler and his most famous creation Philip Marlowe.
Chandler was damn near his own character sometimes. After failing as both journalist and poet, he eventually became a vice-president at Dabney Oil Syndicate. He was making lots of money, but the company only put up with his drinking, disappearances, habit of getting cozy with the female employees, and the occasional threat of suicide before they canned him after just one year in the position.
Unemployment drove Chandler into the arms of pulp-fiction writing, and he never looked back, leaving us with a host of novels that are some of the greatest reads you could ever hope for, full of larger-than-life stories and intrigue that you can't get anywhere else, and many of which went on to be adapted into equally beloved films.
Chandler's work has also influenced more than a few musicians, and today we celebrate them in thanks for all the wonderful tales like The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely that he left us.