Robb White Biography

Robb White III (June 20, 1909 – November 24, 1990) was a writer of screenplays, television scripts, and adventure novels. Most of the latter had a maritime setting, often the Pacific Navy during World War II. White was best known for juvenile fiction, though he has proven popular with adults as well. Nearly all his books are out of print; nevertheless, White has a devoted following among baby-boomers, many of whom were introduced to him through inexpensive paperbacks available in American schools in the mid-20th century.

Robb White III was born to Episcopal missionaries in Baguio, Luzon, in the Philippines. At the time, White's father was working with the Igorots, though he later became an Army chaplain, and thus the young family —including Robb's brother and two sisters —traveled extensively before settling in Thomasville, Georgia.

On a 1958 episode of TV's This Is Your Life, White's sister said that "young Bob was the proverbial minister's son, a rebel against all rules and full of deviltry" —as exemplified when the boy rolled eggs off the roof onto a Ladies' Auxiliary meeting on the front lawn.

White had no formal education before entering the Episcopal High School in New York city, New York. He later attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduated as an ensign in 1931, and then worked briefly as a draftsman and construction engineer for DuPont.

In his 1953 memoir Our Virgin Island, White says that by 1937 he "had been halfway round the world and back" and "sailed a schooner around the Atlantic for six months." During his stint on a Boston-based "floating school" with only one student, White one night swam ashore from two miles out after the schooner was crippled in a December storm.