Robert Nathan and seventh wife,
soap opera star Anna Lee, from her
memorial website, annalee.net.
He was born into a prominent New York family. He was educated in the United States and Switzerland. He attended Harvard University for several years beginning in 1912. It was there that he began writing short fiction and poetry. However, he never graduated, choosing instead to drop out and take a job at an advertising firm to support his family. (He married while a junior at Harvard.) It was while working in 1919 that he wrote his first novel, a semi-autobiographical work - Peter Kinred. The novel was a critical failure. But his luck soon changed during the 1920s, when he wrote seven more novels including The Bishop's Wife which was later made into a successful film starring Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young.
Read Robert Nathan's novel, Autumn, free from Project Gutenberg.
During the 1930s, his success continued with more works including fictional pieces and poetry. In 1940 he wrote his most successful book, Portrait of Jennie, about a Great Depression-era artist and the woman he is painting who is slipping through time. Portrait of Jennie is a modern masterpiece of fantasy fiction, and was also made into a film, starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten.
Many of Nathan's stories seem to have an other-worldly air about them, though he was never classed as a writer of science fiction as much as a writer of fantasy.
Mr. Nathan's seventh wife was the British actress Anna Lee, to whom he was married from 1970 until his death.