Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Edward Everett Tanner III  

Pen Name: Patrick Dennis, Virginia Rowans

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1921 in Evanston, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Tanner was born in Chicago and was raised in Evanston. He attended Evanston Township High School.

Biographical and Professional Information

Edward Tanner was better known by his pen names Patrick Dennis and Virginia Rowans. His novel ''Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade'' was one of the bestselling American books of the 20th century. It became the basis of a stage play, a film, a stage musical, and a film musical. The first edition of ''Auntie Mame'' spent 112 weeks on the bestseller list, selling more than 2,000,000 copies in five different languages. At the height of its popularity, it was selling more than 1,000 copies a day; throughout 1955 and 1956, it sold between 1,000 and 5,000 a week. In 1956, with ''Auntie Mame'', ''The Loving Couple: His (and Her) Story'', and ''Guestward, Ho!,'' Dennis became the first writer ever to have three books on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time.

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