|Author: Zane Grey|
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Zane Grey was born in 1872 as "Pearl Gray" [in] Zanesville in Ohio--a town founded by and named after his grandfather. Some of his early works, before he found a richer vein further west, piously celebrate the era of pioneer settlement in the Ohio Valley. Those glory days in which Grey's ancestors had played their part were passing, but still remembered, when Pearl came on the scene. His father was a dentist. A gifted athlete, Grey won a baseball scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. He might have become a professional sportsman but, graduating in 1896 with a degree in dentistry, he sensibly decided to follow the paternal path to prosperity in the mouths of his fellow citizens. Grey set up practice in New York in 1898, but his career took a new turn with his marriage in 1905 to Lina "Dolly" Roth, a clever and energetic woman who had majored in English at Hunter College. Dolly persuaded her husband to give up dentistry for authorship and shrewdly proposed that he apply himself to Western themes. It was Grey's good fortune to have coincided with the rise of Hollywood. Hollywood's Westerns created an appetite for Grey's stories and his stories in turn fed Hollywood's voracious needs. Between 1915 and 1924, Zane Grey dominated the American bestseller lists and became a rich man, but by the mid-'30s, his popularity had waned. Ignoring cardiac symptoms, he continued to over-exert himself. The heart, Grey maintained, was only a muscle and needed exercise. He was wrong, and died of a heart attack in 1939. His last words were, reportedly: 'Don't ever leave me Dolly!'