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Lloyd C. Douglas

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Lloyd C. Douglas
Born(1877-08-27)August 27, 1877
DiedFebruary 13, 1951(1951-02-13) (aged 73)
Los Angeles, California, US
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery
Alma materWittenberg College
Occupation(s)Minister, author
Notable workThe Robe, The Big Fisherman, Magnificent Obsession
SpouseBessie L Porch

Lloyd Cassel Douglas (August 27, 1877 – February 13, 1951) was an American minister and author.

Douglas was one of the most popular American authors of his time, although he did not write his first novel until he was 50.


He was born in Columbia City, Indiana. His father was a minister and the family lived for part of Douglas's boyhood in Monroeville and Wilmot, Indiana; and Florence, Kentucky. In the latter town, his father, Alexander Jackson Douglas, was pastor of the Hopeful Lutheran Church.

After receiving the A.M. degree from Wittenberg College (now Wittenberg University) in Springfield, Ohio, in 1903, Douglas was ordained in the Lutheran ministry. He served in pastorates in North Manchester, Indiana; Lancaster, Ohio; and Washington, D.C.[1]

After being ordained, Douglas married Bessie I. Porch. They had two daughters together: Bessie J. Douglas, born about 1899, and Virginia V. Douglas, born about 1901.[1]

From 1911 to 1915, Douglas was director of religious work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The next six years, he was minister of The First Congregational Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a university town.

In 1920 he moved to Akron, Ohio, to serve as the Sr. Minister of the First Congregational Church of Akron until 1926. That year he moved to Los Angeles, California, for a pastorate.

Lastly he served as pastor at St. James United Church in Montreal, Quebec. Douglas retired from the pastorate to write full time. His biographer, Louis Sheaffer, comments, "he never stated publicly why he changed denominations."[citation needed]

Douglas's first novel, Magnificent Obsession, published in 1929, was an immediate success. Critics held that his type of fiction was in the tradition of the great religious writings of an earlier generation, such as Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis.[citation needed]

Douglas followed this with his novels Forgive Us Our Trespasses; Precious Jeopardy; Green Light; White Banners; Disputed Passage; Invitation To Live; Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal; The Robe; and The Big Fisherman.


Magnificent Obsession was adapted twice for the screen, first in 1935 in a film starring Robert Taylor and Irene Dunne, and in 1954, with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman.

In 1937, Green Light was made into a film starring Errol Flynn. White Banners, starring Claude Raines and Fay Bainter, came to the screen in 1938. The film of Disputed Passage was released in 1939. Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal, a prequel to The Magnificent Obsession, aired on syndicated television in 1955–1957. John Howard starred as Dr. Wayne Hudson in 78 episodes.

The Robe sold more than 2 million copies, without any reprint edition. Douglas sold the motion picture rights to The Robe, though the film, starring Richard Burton, was not released until 1953, after Douglas's death.

Having had an unhappy experience with filming adaptations of his works, when he wrote The Big Fisherman as the sequel to The Robe, Douglas made certain stipulations related to his publication. He said that this would be his last novel and that he would not permit it to be adapted as a motion picture, used in any radio broadcast, condensed, or serialised.[citation needed] Eventually, however, movie interests found a way around these and The Big Fisherman was filmed in 1959. It starred Howard Keel in one of his few non-singing screen roles as Peter.

Douglas's last book was the autobiographical Time To Remember, which described his life up to his childhood and education for the ministry. He died before he was able to write the intended second volume. His daughters, Virginia Douglas Dawson and Betty Douglas Wilson, completed this volume, published posthumously as The Shape of Sunday by his daughters.

Douglas died in Los Angeles, California.




Magnificent Obsession series:

  1. Magnificent Obsession (1929), ISBN 9780848804794
  2. Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal (1939), ISBN 9780854560561, prequel

The Robe series:

  1. The Robe (1942), ISBN 9780432031063
  2. The Big Fisherman (1948), ISBN 9780395076309



  • Wanted – A Congregation (1920), ISBN 9780243732357, religion
  • An Affair Of The Heart (1922), ISBN 9781245918749, religion
  • The Minister's Everyday Life (1924), ASIN B004MGLCZU, religion
  • These Sayings of Mine: An Interpretation of the Teachings of Jesus (1926), ASIN B003KCTOFW, religion
  • Those Disturbing Miracles (1927), ISBN 9780766166349, religion
  • The College Student Facing A Muddled World (1933), sociology
  • Time to Remember (1951), ASIN B0167Q3QZ6, autobiography
  • The Living Faith: Selected Sermons (1955), OCLC 1150214011, religion


  • The Fate Of The Limited (1919)



  1. ^ a b 1910 US Census; Douglas was listed as a Lutheran clergyman.
  2. ^ "Author – Rev, Doya Cassel Douglas". Author and Book Info.

Further reading[edit]

  • Douglas, Lloyd C (1951), Time to Remember, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Dawson, VD; Wilson, BD (1952), The Shape of Sunday: An Intimate Biography of Lloyd C Douglas (by his daughters).
  • Lentz, H Max (1902), A History of the Lutheran Churches in Boone County, Kentucky, together with Sketches of the Pastors Who Have Served Them, York, PA: Anstadt & Sons, pp. 80–83.
  • Sheaffer, Louis (1929). "Lloyd Cassel Douglas". Dictionary of American Biography. Vol. 70. pp. 181–182 (Supplement 5). Bibcode:1929Sci....70..121P. doi:10.1126/science.70.1805.121. PMID 17813847..

External links[edit]