Gaston Leroux was a French mystery novelist, playwright, and journalist, who was perhaps best known for writing The Phantom of the Opera. Leroux's narratives were fast moving, and he often used complicated plots. In his youth, he wrote stories inspired by Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo. His later works showed the influence of Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe.
Leroux was born on May 6, 1868, in Paris to a wealthy store owner. He attended school in Normandy and obtained his law degree in Paris in 1889. When his father died, Leroux inherited nearly a million francs, and he spent most of his time drinking and gambling. Eventually, finding his money gone, Leroux started to work as a theater critic and reporter for L'Écho de Paris. By 1890, Leroux had become a full-time journalist.
Between 1894 and 1906, Leroux traveled to different countries throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia as a correspondent. He wrote for the daily newspaper Le Matlin in addition to L'Écho de Paris and covered the Russian Revolution of 1905. In 1909, Leroux devoted himself entirely to writing, focusing on plays and popular novels of mystery and detection. Leroux established his own film company called Cinéromans in 1919. He died in Nice on April 16, 1927.