Wilbur Smith Biography – Wilbur Smith Wiki
Wilbur Smith (born Wilbur Addison Smith) was a Zambian-born South African novelist. He gained widespread recognition following the publication of his first novel When the Lion Feeds in 1964. The book became an instant bestseller. During his decades-long career as a writer, Smith authored 49 novels and sold over 140 million copies worldwide in more than 30 languages.
In the 49 novels Smith has published to date, he has transported his readers to gold mines in South Africa, piracy on the Indian Ocean, buried treasure on tropical islands, conflict in Arabia and Khartoum, ancient Egypt, World War Two Germany and Paris, India, the Americas and the Antarctic, encountering ruthless diamond and slave traders and big game hunters in the jungles and bush of the African wilderness.
His bestselling Courtney Series, the longest running in publishing history, follows the Courtney family’s adventures across the world, spanning generations and three centuries, through critical periods from the dawn of colonial Africa to the American Civil War, and to the apartheid era in South Africa.
According to his biography on the Wilbur Smith Books website, it was with Taita, the hero of his acclaimed Egyptian Series, that Wilbur most strongly identified, and River God remains one of his best-loved novels to this day.
Wilbur Smith Age
He was born on 9 January 1933, in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia (now Kabwe, Zambia) to a British family. He was named after one of the pioneer brothers of air flight Wilbur Wright. He passed away on 13 November 2021, in Cape Town, South Africa. He was 88 years old.
Wilbur Smith Wife
He was married four times. He was married to his first wife Anne Rennie from 1957 until their divorce in 1962. Shortly after, he married his second wife Jewell Slabbart in 1964. The marriage also failed. He then met young divorcee Danielle Thomas whom he married in 1971 until she died from brain cancer in 1999, following a six-year illness.
He met his fourth wife, Mokhiniso Rakhimova from Tajikistan, in a bookshop near Sloane Square in London. They were married from May 2000 until his death in 2021. “It wasn’t until he met his fourth wife, Mokhiniso Rakhimova, that Wilbur found true happiness and peace of mind,” according to his obituary. Niso Smith has been instrumental in managing Wilbur’s legacy project.
He told the Sunday Times Magazine about his four marriages: “I’m not proud of it, but I’ve been married four times. Two of them died on me, the first one hates me and this one (his fourth wife Niso) loves me, so I’ve covered the whole spectrum.
“I’m lonely on my own. I need a woman by my side… someone I can talk to and respect, who pays me respect when it’s due and tells me when I’m being stupid, which is far too often. I want someone who I believe in, who I think likes me and who wants me to succeed.”
Wilbur Smith Children
He has three children from his first two marriages – shaun Smith, Christian Smith and Lawrence Smith. The millionaire author had fallen out with his children. He previously said relations with his children became strained when they lived with his ex-wives after his marriages ended.
He said: “My relationship with their mothers broke down and, because of what the law was, they went with their mothers and were imbued with their mothers’ morality and were not my people any more.”
Wilbur Smith Family
Wilbur Smith was the son of Herbert James Smith and Elfreda (nee Lawrence), and grandson of the son of Alice (nee Aslett) and Courtney James Smith. He had a younger sister Adrienne. His father, Herbert Smith, was a sheet-metal worker. It was his more artistically inclined mother, Elfreda, who encouraged the young Wilbur to read the likes of CS Forester, Rider Haggard and John Buchan.
Wilbur Smith Death
Author Wilbur Smith passed away on 13 November 2021, at the age of 88. His death was announced in a statement on the Wilbur Smith Books website and social media pages as well as on the website of The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation. The statement on the Wilbur Smith Books website said: “Global bestselling author Wilbur Smith died unexpectedly this afternoon at his Cape Town home after a morning of reading and writing with his wife Niso by his side.”
The author said at the conclusion of his memoir On Leopard Rock published in 2018: “I’ve had tough times, bad marriages, people I loved dearly dying in my arms, burnt the midnight oil getting nowhere, but it has, all in the end, added up to a phenomenally fulfilled and wonderful life. I want to be remembered as somebody who gave pleasure to millions.”
Kevin Conroy Scott, literary agent for Wilbur Smith for the past 11 years, paid tribute to Smith in the following statement: “Wilbur Smith was an icon, larger than life, beloved by his fans who collected his books in hardbacks and passed his work down through generations, fathers to sons and mothers to daughters. His knowledge of Africa, and his imagination knew no limitations. His work ethic and his powerful, elegant writing style made him known to millions. I cherish the role of working side by side with his wife Niso and the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation to keep the flame of his fictional universe alive for many years to come.”
Kate Parkin, Managing Director of Adult Trade Publishing for Bonnier Books UK, said: “It is with deep sadness that we mourn the death of our beloved author Wilbur Smith whose seemingly inexhaustible creative energy and passion for storytelling will long live on in the hearts and minds of readers everywhere. Wilbur never lost his appetite for writing and remained working every day of his life. He leaves behind him a treasure-trove of novels, as well as completed and yet to be published co-authored books and outlines for future stories. It has been a privilege and an honour to work closely with him on this remarkable publishing legacy and we look forward to sharing them with his millions of fans worldwide in years to come.”
Wilbur Smith Cause of Death
The cause of death was not revealed in the statement announcing his death.
He had struggled with health issues since a tender age. At the age of eighteen months Wilbur became seriously ill with cerebral malaria, and there was a possibility he would be brain damaged if he survived. At sixteen Wilbur contracted polio which left him with a weak right leg, but it caused him little problem until later in life.
Wilbur Smith Net Worth – Wilbur Smith Net Worth 2021
Author Wilbur Smith has an estimated net worth of £100 million.