Achmed Abdullah

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Achmed Abdullah
Born12 May 1881 Edit this on Wikidata
Died12 May 1945 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 64)
LanguageEnglish language Edit this on Wikidata

Achmed Abdullah (12 May 1881 – 12 May 1945) was an American 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.


Abdullah's novel The Trail of the Beast was serialized in The Argosy in 1918

Self-written early biography[edit]

Achmed Abdullah's biography prior to coming to the US is based on his own writings and interviews, and his reminiscences in The Cat had Nine Lives, and is not verified by independent sources.[1]

As was frequent among new immigrants to the US in 1910–20s, Achmed Abdullah claimed descent from the Russian imperial family. He famously stated he was born Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff in 1881 in Yalta, Russia, to Grand Duke Nicholas Romanoff, a (non-existent) cousin of Czar Nicholas Romanoff and Princess Nourmahal Durani, a daughter of an 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 (there are no records about him in either school). He claimed that although he was born Russian Orthodox, he was raised as a Muslim by his uncle who adopted him.[2] Abdullah claimed that he himself was a devout Catholic.[3]

Upon his graduation, he said he joined the British Army and rose to rank of acting colonel during his 17-year military career. He claimed to have served in Afghanistan, Tibet in 1903-04 with the Younghusband Expedition. He was also deployed in Africa,[where?] China, and also with the British-Indian army in India. In addition, he was also a colonel in a cavalry regiment for one year in the Turkish army as a British spy. He claimed to have mostly spent the time in the military as a spy because of his wide knowledge of Oriental and Middle Eastern customs and religions. It is said that he traveled widely in Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and China and spoke many languages and dialects. He claimed he was made a British citizen by an Act of Parliament and convicted by the Germans during the First World War for being a spy.


In the 1910s he emigrated to the United States and eventually became a writer and 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.[4] Abdullah's short story collection Wings contains several fantasy stories, which critic Mike Ashley describes as containing "some of his most effective writing".[5] He got a doctorate from the College of El-Azar, Cairo in Koranic Studies.[citation needed]

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

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


The Mating of the Blades in The Argosy (1918).
  • The Swinging Caravan, (1911)
  • The Red Stain, (1915)
  • The Blue-Eyed Manchu, (1916)
  • Bucking the Tiger, (1917)
  • The Trail of the Beast
  • Fear and Other Stories (1919)
  • The Honourable Gentleman and Others (1919)
  • 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)
  • Jimmie of the Legion (1929) (American Boy Stories 1929 Doubleday)
  • 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)
  • The Cat had Nine Lives (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. ^ "The Incubus by Achmed Abdullah". Archived from the original on 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  2. ^ Edward E. Curtis, Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, Facts on File, Inc., 2010, pg. 198
  3. ^ "Achmed Abdullah, Aughor, 64, Is Dead". The New York Times. May 13, 1945. p. 20.
  4. ^ Darrell Schweitzer, "Introduction" to Fear and Other Tales From the Pulps, Wildside Press, 2005, ISBN 1-59224-237-5 (pp. 7-8).
  5. ^ 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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