Robert Albert Bloch was an American author of the crime, horror, fantasy, and science fiction novels, short tales, and screenplays for a number of well-known television and film projects. He is best known as “the man who created Psycho,” the most important work of his career, a thriller novel with twists and turns that send shivers through the reader and jostle them with the lifelike vision that his words produce, and which catapulted him to Hollywood. Bloch became a regular on the television and cinema scriptwriting scene when Alfred Hitchcock bought the film rights to the novel and made it into a famous feature picture. Despite having no official education beyond high school, he had a 60-year literary career and 30 years of experience working in television and film. He began his creative career by penning short stories for publications such as ‘Weird Tales,’ ‘Amazing,’ ‘Fantastic,’ and ‘The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction,’ among others. Hugo Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, World Fantasy Award, and other prizes were given to him for his outstanding contribution to the world of writing.
Childhood and Adolescence
Raphael Bloch and Stella Loeb had Robert Bloch on April 5, 1917, in Chicago. His father worked as a bank teller, and his mother worked as a social worker. He grew up in a Jewish middle-class home.
Bloch’s family relocated to Maywood when he was five years old, and he attended the Methodist Church despite being Jewish. Bloch had an interest in horror while growing up in Maywood.
Bloch’s father lost his work, so the family moved to Milwaukee in 1929. Bloch attended Lincoln High School and wrote for The Quill, the school magazine. He began working at the school’s theatrical department after graduating.
Robert Bloch’s Career
Bloch joined ‘The Milwaukee Fictioneers’ in 1935, a writers’ organization that featured individuals such as Gustav Mark, Stanley Weinbaum, Raymond Palmer, and others. Mark hired him as a copywriter at his advertising agency.
In 1939, Bloch was engaged to write and contribute to Carl Zeidler’s campaign. He focused on his speeches, advertisements, and photo opportunities.
Despite his efforts, he was never paid the promised pay for the campaign.
In 1943, Bloch released his original take on the fictional figure “Jack, the Ripper” in the novella “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper,” which appeared in the journal “Weird Tales.” Later, it was modified for radio and television.
In 1947, he released his first suspense novel, “The scarf,” about a writer named “Daniel Morley” who uses actual women as models for his characters and then murders them.
Bloch published three thriller books in 1954: ‘Spiderweb,’ ‘The Kidnapper,’ and ‘The Will to Kill.’ He was also picked to appear on the television show ‘It’s a Draw’ as a weekly guest panelist.
Bloch had achieved considerable critical and economic success at this time, but with the publication of his novel “The Psycho” in 1959, his life was irreversibly changed – his name was eternally associated with this work of genius.
Bloch was approached to sell the film rights to ‘The Psycho’ due to the film’s immediate success. He sold the rights for $9500 and later discovered that Alfred Hitchcock had purchased them.
Bloch earned the Hugo Award for his short story “The Hell-Bound Train” in 1959, the highest honor in science fiction. He was invited to write the script for the television drama ‘Lock-Up’ after collecting the award.
He also authored a few scripts for another television show, ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents,’ in the same year. However, due to a Writers Guild strike, he was compelled to revert to penning short stories.
Bloch published two books in 1960: ‘The Dead Beat’ and ‘Pleasant Dreams,’ a collection of short stories. Bloch became well-known in Hollywood the same year that Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ was released.
Bloch returned to scripting in the 1960s once the strike ended, writing screenplays for ‘The Couch (1962)’, an episode for ‘Bus Stop,’ ten episodes for ‘Thriller,’ ten episodes for ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents,’ a screenplay for ‘The Cabinet of Caligari (1962),’ and so on.
‘Firebug (1961)’, ‘Strait-Jacket (1964)’, ‘The Night Walker (1964)’, ‘The Skull (1965)’, ‘Journey to Midnight (1968)’, ‘The House That Dripped Blood (1970)’, and other works from this period include:
Bloch continued to write screenplays in the 1970s and 1980s, penning single episodes for shows like “Night Gallery,” “Ghost Story,” and “Gemini Man,” among others.
He continued to write fiction and screenplays, writing books such as “Sneak Preview (1971), “Strange Eons (1978),” “And Lori (1989),” and scripts such as “Darkroom,” “And tales from the Darkside,” and others.
After Alfred Hitchcock bought the film rights and turned it into a movie in 1960, Major Works Bloch’s ‘The Psycho (1959)’ transformed his literary career and gave him a famous reputation not only in the fiction circle but also in Hollywood.
Achievements and Awards
Bloch has received numerous honors, including the Ann Radcliffe Award (1960), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1960), the Inkpot Award (1964), the Ann Radcliffe Award for Television (1966), the World Fantasy Award (1975), the Hugo Special Award (1984), and the Bram Stoker Award (1989), among others.
Personal History and Legacy
Bloch married Marion Ruth Holcombe in 1940, and it was thought to be a convenience marriage to keep him out of the service. They had a daughter named Sally together. In 1963, the couple divorced.
In 1964, he married Eleanor Alexander, a recently widowed woman. She worked as a makeup artist and fashion model. They never had any children and remained married till Bloch’s death.
Bloch died of cancer in Los Angeles in 1994 at the age of 77. He was cremated and laid to rest in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery’s Room of Prayer columbarium.
Estimated Net worth
Robert is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. Robert Bloch’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Bloch was named Master of Ceremonies at the first World Horror Convention, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee in 1991.
In 1975, he was a special visitor at the BYOBCON V science-fiction convention in Kansas City, when it was announced, “The creator of Psycho is in the hotel.” Shower with a pal.’
The majority of this prolific American fiction writer’s work was typed on an antiquated manual typewriter.