Alan Caillou

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Alan Caillou was the nom de plume of Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe M.B.E., M.C. (9 November 1914 – 1 October 2006),[1] an author, actor, screenwriter, soldier, policeman and professional hunter.

Biography[edit]

Alan Lyle-Smythe was born in Surrey, England. Prior to World War II he served with the Palestine Police from 1936 to 1939, where he learned the Arabic language.[2] He was awarded an MBE in June 1938.[3] He married Aliza Sverdova in 1939, then studied acting from 1939-1941.[4]

In January 1940, Lyle-Smythe was commissioned in the Royal Army Service Corps. Due to his linguistic skills, he transferred to the Intelligence Corps[5] and served in the Western Desert where he used the surname "Caillou" (the French word for 'stone') as an alias. He was captured in North Africa, imprisoned and threatened with execution in Italy, then escaped to join the British forces at Salerno. He was then posted to serve with the partisans in Yugoslavia. He wrote about his experiences in the book The World is Six Feet Square (1954). He was promoted to Captain and awarded the Military Cross in 1944.[6]

Following the war he returned to the Palestine Police from 1946-1947 then served as a Police Commissioner in British occupied Italian Somaliland from 1947-1952 where he was recommissioned a Captain.[7] He wrote of these years in the book Sheba Slept Here.

After work as a District Officer in Somalia and professional hunter, Lyle-Smythe travelled to Canada, where he worked as a hunter and then became an actor on Canadian television.

He wrote his first novel, Rogue's Gambit, in 1955, first using the name of Caillou; one of his aliases during the war. Moving from Vancouver to Hollywood,[8] he made many appearances as an actor as well as a screenwriter in such shows as Daktari, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (including the screenwriting for "The Bow-Wow Affair" from 1965), Thriller, Daniel Boone and Quark, where he played "The Head".

Caillou wrote a variety of 52 paperback thrillers under his own name and a nom de plume of Alex Webb with such heroes as Cabot Cain, Colonel Matthew Tobin, Mike Benasque, Ian Quayle and Josh Dekker as well as writing many magazine stories. He also wrote books under female names.[9]

Several of Caillou's novels were filmed, such as Rampage with Robert Mitchum in 1963 based on his big game hunting knowledge, Assault on Agathon with Nico Minardos as Cabot Cain for which Caillou did the screenplay as well, and The Cheetahs, filmed in 1989.

He can be seen as a contestant on 23 January 1958 edition of You Bet Your Life.

He died in Sedona, Arizona, United States in 2006.

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