Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Achmed Abdullah

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Name  Achmed Abdullah
Role  Writer
Achmed Abdullah manybooksnetimagesaabdullahaabdullahaportrai
Died  May 12, 1945, New York City, New York, United States
Movies  The Thief of Bagdad, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, Su ultima noche
Spouse  Rosemary A. Doland (m. 1940–1945), Jean Wick (m. 1919–1939)
Children  Pamelia Susan Abdullah Brower, Phyllis Abdullah
Books  The Thief of Bagdad, Alien Souls, The honourable gentlema, Night drums, Dreamers of empire
Similar People  Francis Yeats‑Brown, Grover Jones, John L Balderston, Paul Wing, Ernest B Schoedsack

Achmed Abdullah - An Indian Jataka

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.


Self-written early biography

Achmed Abdullah's biography prior to coming to the US is based on his own writings and interviews, and is not verified by independent sources.

As was frequent among new immigrants to the US in 1910-1920's, 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-existing) 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.

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, Africa, China and, as well as the British-Indian army in India, and 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, and 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. Abdullah's short story collection Wings contains several fantasy stories, which critic Mike Ashley describes as containing "some of his most effective writing". He got a doctorate from the College of El-Azar, Cairo in Koranic Studies.

Achmed Abdullah was married at least three times: to Irene Bainbridge, Jean Wick, and Rosemary A. Dolan. He was the father of 2 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.


  • Pagan Love (1920) (screenplay and story - "The Honourable Gentleman")
  • Bucking the Tiger (1921) (story)
  • The Remittance Woman (1923) (novel)
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1924) (screenplay)
  • Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) (titles)
  • Su ultima noche (1931) (adaptation)
  • The Hatchet Man (1932) (play "The Honorable Mr. Wong")
  • The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) (screenplay)
  • References

    Achmed Abdullah Wikipedia