Gaston Leroux is best known as the creator of the 1911 novel, The Phantom of the Opera, about a masked figure who haunts the hidden parts of the Paris Opera House. The novel appeared first in serial installments a year before publication, ultimately grew into several movie versions, and later became an Tony Award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Leroux was born in Paris in 1868. The only child of financially well-off parents, he moved easily into a clerk job in a law office. While working there, he wrote essays and short stories, many of which were accepted by publishers. This fired his enthusiasm, and he became a full-time reporter/writer in 1890. Law experience covering famous cases and theater reviews fueled his writing career, but it was his news reporter job that took him around the world at the turn of the century, providing details for his novels. Leroux wrote several mystery and fantasy novels, including the well-received The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1907) and The Man Who Came Back from the Dead (1912). Leroux also helped pioneer the character of the amateur detective who solves crime, so commonly seen today in movies and television. Gaston Leroux continued to write until his death on April 16, 1927.