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Who Was Ellery Queen?

June 11, 2009

Ellery Queen is both a fictional character and a pseudonym used by two American cousins from Brooklyn, New York: Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay (October 20, 1905–September 3, 1982) and Manford (Emanuel) Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee (January 11, 1905–April 3, 1971), to write detective fiction.

When we write "Ellery Queen," you're either thinking of some brilliant, suave, code-cracking sleuth or of a magazine, a television show and a long-running radio program. In either case, you're right.

Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee, cousins, created and co-wrote the Ellery Queen stories, which featured a New York father and son who collected and analyzed clues to cryptic cases. The duo wrote under the pen name Ellery Queen.

The father, Inspector Richard Queen, used his access to evidence as a member of the police force to gather all the puzzle pieces. The son, who spent his spare time writing detective novels anyway, would then fit the pieces into a proper pattern.

The Adventures of Ellery Queen, starring Hugh Marlowe, aired on CBS and ABC radio from 1939 to 1948. A live-action television series aired from 1950 to 1952 on ABC, as well as from 1958 to 1959 on NBC.

Another version of the TV show aired from 1975 to 1976, again on NBC, and featured a memorable opening theme song.

The character also appeared in Crackajack Funnies #23 in 1940 before starring in his own comic title which ran throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. He appeared again in writer Mike W. Barr's mystery comic The Maze Agency #9 illustrated by Adam Hughes and published by Innovation Publishing.

A number of Ellery Queen films starring Ralph Bellamy or William Gargan in the title role were screened between 1935 and 1952.

Today, the name Ellery Queen remains synonymous with investigative adventure.

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