French journalist and author, Gaston Leroux was born 6 May in 1868. His most famous work The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, 1910), has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, including a 1925 film starring Lon Chaney, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical and Joel Schumacher’s subsequent film adaptation of the musical starring Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver & Jennifer Ellison. The Musical still remains popular to this day and you can still see it in London, New York, Las Vegas and Budapest.Leroux was born in Paris in 1868 and went to school in Normandy and later studied law in Paris, graduating in 1889. He inherited millions of francs and lived wildly until he nearly reached bankruptcy.
Subsequently in 1890, he began working as a court reporter and theater critic for L’Écho de Paris. However his most important journalism came when he began working as an international correspondent for the Paris newspaper Le Matin. In 1905, he was present at, and covered, the Russian Revolution. Another case he was present at involved the investigation and in-depth coverage of the former Paris Opera (presently housing the Paris Ballet).In 1907 He suddenly left Journalism and began writing fiction. he and his writing patner Arthur Bernède formed their own film company, Société des Cinéromans to publish novels simultaneously and turn them into films. He first wrote a mystery novel entitled Le mystère de la chambre jaune (1908; The Mystery of the Yellow Room), starring the amateur detective Joseph Rouletabille.
Leroux was a very prolific author and went on to write many more novels about the adventures of Joseph Rouletabille, including Le parfum de la dame en noir (The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Rouletabille chez le Tsar, Rouletabille à la guerre (Rouletabille at War), Les étranges noces de Rouletabille (The Strange Wedding of Rouletabille. Rouletabille chez Krupp, Le crime de Rouletabille (1921), Rouletabille chez les Bohémiens, Le petit marchand de romme de terre frites, Un homme dans la nuit, La double vie de Théophraste Longuet, The Phantom of the Opera, Le roi mystère, L’homme qui a vu le diable, Le fauteuil hanté, La reine de Sabbat, Balaoo, Le dîner des bustes, La hache d’or, L’ épouse du soleil, Première aventures de chéri-Bibi, La colonne infernale, Confitou, L’ homme qui revient de loin, Le capitaine Hyx – La bataille invisible, Le coeur cambriolé, Le sept de trèfle, La poupée sanglante – La machine à assassiner, Le Noël du petit Vincent-Vincent, Not’olympe, Les ténébreuses: La fin d’un monde & du sang sur la Néva. Leroux sadly passed away on 15th April 1927, however his legacy lives on in the form of some wonderful novels and his contribution to French detective fiction is considered a parallel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the United Kingdom and Edgar Allan Poe in the United States.