- Raymond Thornton Chandler (July 23, 1888 – March 26, 1959) was an American novelist and screenwriter. In 1932, at the age of forty-four, Chandler became a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Great Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939 and featured the private detective Philip Marlowe. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published seven novels during his lifetime. All but Playback have been made into motion pictures, some more than once. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.