Zane Grey was born Pearl Zane Gray in 1872, in Zanesville, Ohio. He studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, married Lina Elise Roth in 1905, then moved his family west where he began to write novels. The author of 86 books, he is today considered the father of the Western genre, with its heady romances and mysterious outlaws. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) brought Grey his greatest popular acclaim. Other notable titles include The Light of Western Stars (1914) and The Vanishing American (1925). An extremely prolific writer, he often completed three novels a year, while his publisher would issue only one at a time. Twenty-five of his novels were published posthumously. His last, The Reef Girl, was published in 1977. Zane Grey died of heart failure on October 23 in Altadena, California, in 1939.