Jan de Hartog (1914—2002) was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands. His father was a minister and theology professor. He left home at the age of ten to work as a sailor on fishing boats and steamers. After attending the Amsterdam Naval College, he worked at the Amsterdam Municipal Theatre from 1932 to 1937. During this period he wrote a number of popular detective novels. From the late 1930s to late in life, de Hartog worked steadily as a successful playwright and novelist. His novel HOLLANDS GLORIE (1940) was banned when it became a symbol of Dutch resistance against the Nazi occupation in World War II. Wanted by the Nazis, de Hartog hid in an Amsterdam home for senior citizens, disguised as an old woman. THE FOURPOSTER, his most successful play, was written during this period of hiding. Escaping to England, he became a newspaper correspondent there and married the daughter of English playwright J.B. Priestley, Angela Priestley. He later moved to the United States where he became writer-in-residence and lecturer in playwriting at the University of Houston. Four of his plays were produced on Broadway and in the West End. The play that attracted the most attention before THE FOURPOSTER (1951) was SKIPPER NEXT TO GOD (1948) starring John Garfield.