Irving Stone was born in San Francisco in 1903 and received his B. A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1923 and his Master's degree from the University of Southern California in 1924. He wrote plays and supported himself by writing detective stories until the publication of Lust for Life, his first novel, in 1934, Stone called his work 'bio-history' and based his novels on meticulous and extensive research into the lives of the historical characters at the heart of his novels. He married his editor, Jean Factor, in 1934. He founded the Academy of American Poets in 1962. He died in Los Angeles in 1989.