Lloyd Cassel Douglas (August 27, 1877 - February 13, 1951) was a noteworthy American minister and author. He was born in Columbia City, Indiana, spent part of his boyhood in Monroeville, Indiana, and Florence, Kentucky, where his father, Alexander Jackson Douglas, was pastor of the Hopeful Lutheran Church. He died in Los Angeles, California.
Douglas was one of the most popular American authors of his time, although he didn't write his first novel until he was 50 yrs. of age.
He was the son of a minister, and after receiving the A.M. degree from Wittenberg College (Now Wittenberg University) in Springfield, Ohio, in 1903, he was ordained in the Lutheran ministry. He served in pastorates in North Manchester, Indiana, Lancaster, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.. From 1911 to 1915, he was director of religious work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The next six years, he was minister of The First Congregational Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from there moving to Akron, Ohio, and serving as the Sr. Minister of the First Congregational Church of Akron from 1920 - 1926 then to Los Angeles, California and finally to the St. James United Church at Montreal, Quebec, from which pulpit he retired to write. His biographer, Louis Sheaffer, comments, "he never stated publicly why he changed denominations."
His written works were of a moral, didactic, and distinctly religious tone. His first novel, Magnificent Obsession, published in 1929, was an immediate and sensational 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.
Douglas then wrote Forgive Us Our Trespasses; Precious Jeopardy; Green Light; White Banners; Disputed Passage; Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal; The Robe, and The Big Fisherman. The Robe sold more than 2 million copies, without any reprint edition. Douglas sold the motion picture rights to this story, though the film, starring Richard Burton, was not released until 1953, after Douglas's death.
His own unhappy experience of filming prompted Douglas, when he produced The Big Fisherman as the sequel to The Robe, to stipulate that The Big Fisherman would be his last novel, and that he would not permit it to be made into a motion picture, used over the radio, condensed or serialised. Eventually, The Big Fisherman was filmed in 1959, starring Howard Keel in one of his few non-singing screen roles as Peter.
His 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 but the task was completed in The Shape of Sunday by his daughters, Virginia Douglas Dawson and Betty Douglas Wilson.
Douglas is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
Louis Sheaffer, "Lloyd Cassel Douglas", in Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 5, pages 181-182.
Lloyd C. Douglas, Time to Remember Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1951.
V. D. Dawson, and B. D. Wilson, The Shape of Sunday: An Intimate Biography of Lloyd C. Douglas (1952) [by his daughters]
H. Max Lentz, A History of the Lutheran Churches in Boone County, Kentucky, together with Sketches of the Pastors Who Have Served Them, (York, PA: Anstadt and Sons, 1902), p. 80-83.