Ross MacDonald, whose real name was Kenneth Millar, was born on December 13, 1915, in Los Gatos, California, to Canadian parents. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and a master's degree and a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. During World War II, he served as a communications officer on a United States Navy escort carrier. His first book, The Dark Tunnel, was published in 1944 under the name John MacDonald. He was best known for the Lew Archer Mystery series. Two of the books in the series, The Moving Target renamed Harper and The Drowning Pool, were adapted into movies starring Paul Newman. MacDonald died of Alzheimer's disease on July 11, 1983 at the age of 67.