Fiction Writer · Nonfiction Writer · Stage & Screen Artist
Born April 10, 1897, Menston, Yorkshire, England
Died January 15, 1943, Dutch Guinea
Eric Knight had a distinguished and multi-faceted career as a novelist, illustrator, film and drama critic, journalist, and filmmaker. He is best known as the author of the classic children's novel, Lassie Come Home, the story of the deep devotion between a boy and his dog. Knight and his wife Jere raised collies on their farm in Springtown. Lassie has since become an icon, spawning eight movies and seven television shows. Knight's childhood in England, marked by poverty and hard work, influenced many of his other books, which deal with the rift between economic classes in England and his own struggle to rise above industrial drudgery. Knight trained to be an artist, but this ambition was hindered by color blindness. He went on to become an author, journalist, filmmaker, and illustrator. He worked for a variety of papers , including the Philadelphia Press and Public Ledger ,as a film and drama critic. He was a screenwriter in Hollywood from 1934 to 1936. At the request of director Frank Capra , Knight served in the US Special Services as a filmmaker in 1942. He was killed in an airplane crash in Dutch Guinea in 1943 while a major in Special Services.
Image: Photograph of Eric Knight with his dog Toots. Photo courtesy of Geoff Gehman.