Lee Falk

Lee Falk, born Leon Harrison Gross (April 28, 1911 - March 13, 1999), was an American writer, theater director, and producer, best known as the creator of the popular comic strip superheroes The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, who at the height of their popularity attracted over a hundred million readers every day. Falk also contributed to a series of pulp novels about The Phantom. A playwright and theatrical director/producer, Falk directed actors such as Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, Chico Marx, and Ethel Waters. Falk also wrote numerous short stories. Falk was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent his boyhood and his youth. His mother was Eleanor Alina (a name he later, in some form, used in both his Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom story lines), and his father was Benjamin Gross. Both of his parents were Jewish. Lee was born and raised Jewish. Benjamin Gross died when Falk was just a boy, and after a time, his mother Eleanor married Albert Falk Epstein, who became the father figure for Lee Falk and his brother, Leslie. Falk changed his surname after leaving college.

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