Scott O'Dell was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 1898. He attended Occidental College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford University, and University of Rome. He worked as a technical director for Paramount, a cameraman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and a book editor of a Los Angeles newspaper before serving in the United States Air Force during World War II. The recipient of numerous book awards, he established the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction in 1981. He died on October 15, 1989.