Image of Zane Grey


Lifetime: 1872 - 1939 Passed: ≈ 84 years ago


Novelist, Dentist


United States

Zane Grey

Pearl Zane Grey was an American author and dentist best known for his popular adventure novels and stories associated with the Western genre in literature and the arts; he idealized the American frontier. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) was his best-selling book.

In addition to the commercial success of his printed works, his books have had second lives and continuing influence when adapted as films and television productions. His novels and short stories have been adapted into 112 films, two television episodes, and a television series, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater.

Pearl Zane Grey was born January 31, 1872, in Zanesville, Ohio. His birth name may have originated from newspaper descriptions of Queen Victoria's mourning clothes as "pearl grey." He was the fourth of five children born to Alice "Allie" Josephine Zane, whose English Quaker immigrant ancestor Robert Zane came to the North American colonies in 1673, and her husband, Lewis M. Gray, a dentist. His family changed the spelling of its last name to "Grey" after his birth. Later Grey dropped Pearl and used Zane as his first name.

While Dolly managed Grey's career and raised their three children, including son Romer Zane Grey, over the next two decades Grey often spent months away from the family. He fished, wrote, and spent time with his many mistresses. While Dolly knew of his behaviour, she seemed to view it as his handicap rather than a choice. Throughout their life together, he highly valued her management of his career and their family, and her solid emotional support. In addition to her considerable editorial skills, she had good business sense and handled all his contract negotiations with publishers, agents, and movie studios. All his income was split fifty-fifty with her; from her "share," she covered all family expenses. Their considerable correspondence shows evidence of his lasting love for her despite his infidelities and personal emotional turmoil.

The Greys moved to California in 1918. In 1920 they settled in Altadena, California, at a home later known as the '"Zane Grey Estate"'. In Altadena Grey also spent time with his mistress Brenda Montenegro. The two met while hiking Eaton Canyon. Of her he wrote,

I saw her flowing raven mane against the rocks of the canyon. I have seen the red skin of the Navajo, and the olive of the Spaniards, but her ... her skin looked as if her Creator had in that instant molded her just for me. I thought it was an apparition. She seemed to be the embodiment of the West I portray in my books, open and wild.

Zane Grey died of heart failure on October 23, 1939, at his home in Altadena, California. He was interred at the Lackawaxen and Union Cemetery, Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania.

Books by Zane Grey

Riders of the Purple Sage Cover image

Riders of the Purple Sage

Fiction Novel Religion
Justice Violence Western fiction Greed Wild West

Riders of the Purple Sage is a Western novel by Zane Grey, first published by Harper & Brothers in 1912. Considered by scholars to have played a significant role in shaping the formula of the popular Western genre, the novel has been called "the most...

The Lone Star Ranger Cover image

The Lone Star Ranger

Western fiction Outlaw Wild West

The Lone Star Ranger is a Western novel published by Zane Grey in 1915. The book takes place in Texas, the Lone Star State, and several main characters are Texas Rangers, a famous band of highly capable law enforcement officers. It follows the life o...

The Last Trail Cover image

The Last Trail

Fiction History Biography
Western fiction Deathwind Wild West

Borderman Jonathan Zane opens his heart to love while he searches for the traitor betraying the settlement in the early days in the Ohio Valley by informing hostile Indians about the settlement's secrets.

The Last of the Plainsmen Cover image

The Last of the Plainsmen

Fiction Biography
Travel Geography

Travel along as Mike Vendetti aka miketheauctioneer narrates an outstanding true account of a trip made in 1909 by Zane Grey and a plainsman, Buffalo Jones, through the Grand Canyon to lasso a cougar. That’s right lasso. Throw a rope around. That’s e...

The Day of the Beast Cover image

The Day of the Beast

Redemption Adventure Thriller Self-Discovery Corruption Life Conflict Outlaw Wealth Wild West

It tells the story of a young cowboy named Milt Dale who finds himself caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict between a group of wealthy cattle ranchers and a band of desperate outlaws. As Milt works to untangle the web of violence and corrupti...

The U.P. Trail Cover image

The U.P. Trail

Adventure Fiction
Young Journey Determination Western fiction Ambition Mountains Wilderness Human Spirit

In the heart of the untamed American West, amidst the rugged landscapes and the untamed spirit of the frontier, lies a tale of adventure, love, and the indomitable human spirit. Zane Grey's The U.P. Trail transports readers to the era of westward exp...

Tales Of Lonely Trails Cover image

Tales Of Lonely Trails

Non-Fiction Travel
Nature Autobiography Solitude Travelling Geography Landscape Wilderness

Join Zane Grey, the celebrated author of Western classics, as he takes you on an unforgettable journey through the wild and rugged landscapes of the American West. In Tales of Lonely Trails, Grey chronicles his own personal adventures, recounting tal...

The Mysterious Rider Cover image

The Mysterious Rider

Fiction Novel
Nature Romance Symbolism Desert Suspense Darkness Depths

In the rugged expanse of the American West, a lone rider emerges from the desolate plains, shrouded in an aura of mystery and intrigue. This enigmatic figure, known only as Lassiter, arrives in the town of Beulah, Arizona, where whispers of his enigm...