Achmed Abdullah

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[unreliable source?] Achmed Abdullah (12 May 1881 – 12 May 1945), a pseudonym of Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff, was a Russian-born writer. He is most noted for his pulp stories of crime, mystery and adventure. He wrote screenplays for some successful films. He was the author of the progressive Siamese drama Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, an Academy Award nominated film made in 1927. He earned an Academy Award nomination for collaborating on the screenplay to the 1935 film The Lives of a Bengal Lancer.


Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff was born on 1881 in Yalta, Russia to Grand Duke Nicholas Romanoff, a cousin of Czar Nicholas Romanoff and Princess Nourmahal Durani, the daughter of the Amir of Afghanistan. After his mother's attempts to poison her husband due to his multiple affairs, they divorced, leaving their son and two other children to their maternal grandparents. At the age of 12, he was sent to Eton and then to Oxford University to be educated. Although he was born Russian Orthodox, he was raised as a Muslim by his uncle who adopted him.[1]

Upon his graduation, he joined the British Army, and rose to rank of acting colonel during his 17-year military career. He served in India, Afghanistan, Tibet,[when?] Africa,[where?] China and Turkey. He served the British-Indian army in India, and was also a colonel in a cavalry regiment for one year in the Turkish army as a British spy. He mostly spent the time in the military as a spy because of his wide knowledge of Oriental and Middle Eastern customs and religions. He traveled widely in Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, and China and spoke many languages and dialects. He was made a British citizen by an act[which?] of Parliament, and convicted by the Germans during the First World War for being a spy.

In the early 1910s, he emigrated to the United States and eventually became a successful, well-paid writer, playwright and later on, a Hollywood screenwriter. Abdullah's work appeared in several US magazines, including Argosy, All-Story Magazine, Munsey's Magazine and Blue Book. [2] Abdullah's short story collection Wings contains several fantasy stories, which critic Mike Ashley describes as containing "some of his most effective writing".[3] He got a doctorate from the College of El-Azar, Cairo in Koranic Studies.

Romanoff was married at least three times: to Irene Bainbridge, Jean Wick, and Rosemary A. Dolan. He was the father of 2 daughters with Irene Bainbridge, Phyllis Abdullah (who died in childhood) and Pamelia Susan Abdullah Brower.

In January 1945, Romanoff was admitted to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and a few months later, on May 12, his birthday, he died.


  • The Swinging Caravan, (1911)
  • The Red Stain, (1915)
  • The Blue-Eyed Manchu, (1916)
  • Bucking the Tiger, (1917)
  • The Trail of the Beast
  • The Man on Horseback (1919)
  • The Mating of the Blades (1920)
  • Wings: Tales of the Psychic (1920)
  • The Benefactor's Club (1921)
  • Night Drums (1921)
  • Alien Souls (1922)
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
  • Shackled (1924)
  • A Buccaneer in Spats (1924)
  • The Remittance Woman (1924)
  • A Wild Goose of Limerick (1926)
  • The Year of the Wood Dragon (1926)
  • Ruth's Rebellion (1927) (with Faith Baldwin)
  • Steel and Jade (1927)
  • Lute and Scimitar (1928)
  • Dreamers of Empire (1929) (with T Compton Pakenham)
  • Broadway Interlude (1929) (with Faith Baldwin)
  • They Were So Young (1929)
  • Broadway Sensation (1930) (with Faith Baldwin)
  • The Bungalow On the Roof (1931)
  • The Lady in the Veil (1931)
  • Girl On the Make (1932) (with Faith Baldwin)
  • A Romantic Young Man (1932)
  • Fighting Through (1933)
  • Mysteries of Asia (1935)
  • The Flower of the Gods (1936) (with Fulton Oursler)
  • For Men Only; a cook book (1937) (with John Kenney)
  • Deliver Us from Evil (1939)



  1. ^ Edward E. Curtis, Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, Facts on File, Inc., 2010, pg. 198
  2. ^ Darrell Schweitzer, "Introduction" to Fear and Other Tales From the Pulps, Wildside Press , 2005, ISBN 1-59224-237-5 (pp. 7-8).
  3. ^ Mike Ashley, "Abdullah, Achmed" in St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, ed. David Pringle, St. James Press, 1996, ISBN 1-55862-205-5, pp 3-5.

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