Hesketh Pearson was born in Worcestershire, England. He went on the stage in 1911, a career which was interrupted by World War I, during which time he began to write for his own amusement. Returning to the stage, he acted in many London productions and in 1930 played in several cities in America. When not acting Mr. Pearson was writing, and his first biography, that of his ancestor Dr. Erasmus Darwin, was published in England in 1930. There followed a long line of distinguished biographies, and, by the time Mr. Pearson's life of George Bernard Shaw was published in 1942, his witty, unorthodox approach to biography had won him a wide audience. Hesketh Pearson's highly successful biographies include Dizzy (a life of Disraeli), The Man Whistler, Sir Walter Scott, Beerbohm Tree, Gilbert (a biography of Sir Arthur Sullivan's collaborator), and Johnson and Boswell.