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James Clavell's Biography

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James Du Maresq Clavell was born in Sydney, Australia, on October 10, 1924, but was educated in Portsmouth in the south of England.

His father Commander Sir Richard Clavell RN, had been stationed in Australia to help establish the Royal Australian Navy, but the Clavells returned to England when James was an infant.

James Clavell joined the Royal Artillery as a young captain and was captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore in World War 2.

He spent the rest of WW2 in Changi Prison in Singapore. Only one in 15 men survived the harsh conditions there.

Clavell's bestselling book King Rat was based on his experience in Changi.

Subsequently, James Clavell wrote several novels set in Asia including Tai-Pan, Shogun, Noble House, and Gai-Jin.

In 1952 Clavell married April Stride. They were to have two daughters.

James Clavell and his wife emigrated to the United States in 1953. They became US citizens in 1963.

Before becoming known as a writer of novels, James Clavell was a scriptwriter for the movies and his credits include The Great Escape and 633 Squadron.

Clavell lived for many years in Vancouver and Los Angeles, before settling in Switzerland, where he died on September 6, 1994 in Vevey.

James Clavell and his wife were both qualified pilots and they owned their own helicopters.

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