Gaston Leroux

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Gaston Leroux (1907)

Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux (born May 6, 1868 in Paris , † April 15, 1927 in Nice ) was a French journalist and writer . He is world-famous above all for his novel “ The Phantom of the Opera ” ( Le fantôme de l'opéra , 1910).


After completing school in Normandy, he studied law in Paris from 1886 to 1889 . Even then he wrote articles for various newspapers and in 1887 his first novella appeared . After graduating, he worked as a lawyer for some time until his passion for writing prevailed.

Leroux began to work as a theater critic and crime reporter for “L'Écho de Paris” and a sensational article brought him to work with the renowned newspaper “Le Matin”. Between 1896 and 1906 he traveled to various countries in Europe, Africa and Asia as a correspondent , and his sensational reports soon made him famous. Among other things, he reported on the Russo-Japanese war and the unrest in Odessa and St. Petersburg and in Morocco.

In 1907 he decided to give up his reporter work and devote himself only to writing novels. In the same year "The Secret of the Yellow Room" was published, a classic of French crime literature that deals with a criminal case in a locked room . The detective in this and six other books is the young reporter Joseph Rouletabille . The second series about Chéri-Bibi also belongs to the crime genre.

By far his best-known work is “The Phantom of the Opera” from 1910, for which he was inspired by a tour of the underground vaults of the Paris Opera. However, the great success of the story only began with the Hollywood film adaptation in 1925 and continues to this day, especially through the musical adaptation by Andrew Lloyd Webber .

Leroux had also written plays for the stage again and again, but it wasn't until his works were filmed in France that he began to be interested in the film industry. In 1916 he wrote his first screenplay for a film that his neighbor René Navarre , a former Fantômas actor, produced and with which he continued to work. With him and a few others he also founded his own film company in 1919, which he left after differences of opinion in 1922.

He continued to write novels until his death. He died in 1927 as a result of an operation.


The Phantom of the Opera, Dt. EA 1912, Albert Langen, Munich

Roulette table

  • The secret of the yellow room ( Le mystère de la chambre jaune , 1907) (German: Das Neue Berlin, Berlin, 1978)
  • The Perfume of the Lady in Black ( Le parfum de la dame au noir , 1908)
  • Natascha's secret ( Rouletabille chez le tsar , 1913)
  • Roulette table à la guerre , 1914
    • The black castle ( La château noir )
    • The dark nights of the Rouletabille ( Les étranges noces de Rouletabille )
  • Hell on the Ruhr ( Rouletabille chez Krupp , 1917), from the French by Saskia Biebert; Conte Verlag, Saarbrücken 2010 ISBN 978-3-941657-21-2
  • Le crime de Rouletabille , 1921
  • Rouletabille chez les bohémiens , 1922


  • Chéri-Bibi , 1913
  • La nouvelle aurore , 1919
  • Chéri-Bibi, le marchand de cacahouètes , 1925


  • Le petit marchand de pommes de terre frites , 1887 (first published novella)
  • La double vie de Théophraste Longuet , 1903 (first book publication)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (Le fantôme de l'opéra, 1910)
  • The blood-stained doll (La poupée sanglante, 1923)

Film adaptations (selection)

For film adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera see there

  • 1949: Don't Forsake Me ( L'homme qui revient de loin )
  • 1954: The Ship of Dangerous Men ( Cheri-Bibi )
  • 2003: The Secret of the Yellow Room ( Le Mystère de la chambre jaune ) Director: Bruno Podalydès , France / Belgium
  • 2005: The Perfume of the Lady in Black ( Le parfum de la dame au noir ) Director: Bruno Podalydès


Web links

Wikisource: Gaston Leroux  - sources and full texts (French)