Facts about Philip Marlowe

Born: c. 1939
Birthplace: Fiction
Best known as: The hard-boiled hero of Farewell, My Lovely and other novels


Philip Marlowe Biography

Philip Marlowe is the most famous fictional detective and icon from the “hard-boiled” school of 20th-century mystery writing.

The creation of author Raymond Chandler, Philip Marlowe is a private detective with his own practice in Los Angeles (where Raymond Chandler himself had lived). Marlowe is a smart and tough lone wolf with a sense of honor: he won’t take divorce cases, doesn’t like being pushed around, amuses himself at night with old chess problems, and never gives up on a mystery.

Philip Marlowe appears in seven complete novels by Chandler, beginning with The Big Sleep (published 1939) and ending with Playback (1958). The full list is:

  • The Big Sleep (1939)
  • Farewell, My Lovely (1940)
  • The High Window (1942)
  • The Lady in the Lake (1943)
  • The Little Sister (1949)
  • The Long Goodbye (1953)
  • Playback (1958)

A Philip Marlowe novel left unfinished at Raymond Chandler’s death, Poodle Springs, was finished by mystery writer Robert B. Parker and published in 1989. Various TV and radio series also featured the Philip Marlowe character, though they were not written by Chandler.

Extra credit

In the movies, Philip Marlowe was most famously played by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep (1946), and by Robert Mitchum in Farewell, My Lovely (1975) and The Big Sleep (1978)… Philip Marlowe was also played by James Garner in the 1969 film Marlowe, which co-starred Bruce Lee.


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