Biography of Private Investigator Philip Marlowe Part 1

About the famous private investigator Philip Marlowe, history and biography of the Raymond Chandler character.

PEOPLE WHO NEVER WERE--YET LIVE TODAY

PHILIP MARLOWE

Philip Marlowe was born in Santa Rosa, Calif., in that time-out-of-time that allowed him to be 33 years old in 1933, 42 in 1953, and 43 1/2 in 1958. In many ways he was the very model of a perfect private investigator: a college graduate, 6 ft. 1/2 in. tall and 190 lb., with brown eyes and brown hair going gray. He liked liquor, women, and working alone. His independent detective agency was a shoestring operation which he ran from a pair of musty, scantily furnished rooms on the sixth floor of the Cahuenga Building in downtown Los Angeles. He was once employed as an investigator by Taggart Wilde, district attorney of Los Angeles, but was fired for insubordination.

Although Marlowe would have said that his principal hobby was replaying championship chess games taken from books, his greatest pleasure was solving murders and related crimes, since he worked for free as often as he did for money. As he told his old pal Lt. Bernie Ohls, assistant chief of homicide for the Los Angeles sheriff's office, "I'm a romantic, Bernie. I hear voices crying in the night and I go to see what's the matter. You don't make a dime that way...No percentage in it at all. No nothing, except sometimes I get my face pushed in, or get tossed in the can, or get threatened by some fast-money boy."

Marlowe's romanticism stemmed in part from his desire to instill some humanity into the hard, fast, superficial world of Hollywood and Los Angeles, where he lived and worked. Often he was tempted to go far beyond the extent of his responsibility to his clients, but almost invariably he held fast to his principles, and he was loyal to a fault.

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