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-1951

Roald Dahl meets his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal

In 1951 Roald Dahl meets his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal, known afterwards to Roald and the family as Pat, at a dinner party given by playwright Lillian Hellman.

When they met Pat was already well-known, having starred in films including The Day the Earth Stood Still. She would go on to appear as the wealthy matron Emily Eustace Failenson in Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961, and to win an Oscar for her role in the 1963 film Hud.

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-2nd July 1953

Roald Dahl, now aged 37, marries Patricia Neal in New York

On 2nd July 1953 Roald Dahl, now aged 37, marries Patricia Neal, aged 27. The ceremony takes place at a small church in downtown New York. 

1953 also sees his second short story collection Someone Like You published by Alfred A. Knopf.

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-July 1954

In July 1954 Roald Dahl and his wife Pat buy Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden

In July 1954 Roald Dahl and his wife Pat buy Little Whitefield Cottage in Great Missenden, later re-named Gipsy House (now a privately-owned home). 

This was the house they would live in for the duration of their married life, and is where Roald wrote many of his famous stories.

Also in 1954, Roald receives the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for his short story collection Someone Like You.

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-1955

In 1955 Roald Dahl's daughter Olivia is born and his only stage play, The Honeys, opens

On 20th April Roald Dahl and his wife Patricia Neal's first daughter, Olivia ‘Twenty’, is born in New York.

In Storyteller, his biography of Roald Dahl, Donald Sturrock tells us Olivia was "named after her mother's favourite Shakespearean heroine, the date of her birth, and the fact that Roald had $20 in his pocket when he came to visit Pat in hospital."

Roald rushes to visit Pat in hospital from Boston, where he had been on tour with his only stage play The Honeys.

The Honeys tours the East Coast of the USA in 1955, but runs for only 36 performances.

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-1957

In 1957 Roald Dahl's daughter Tessa is born and his stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Presents

In April 1957 Roald Dahl and his wife Patricia Neal's second daughter Chantal (later known as Tessa) is born in Oxford, UK.

Also in 1957, Roald negotiates the television rights for several of his short stories to American TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. 

Of the short stories featured on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Roald's Lamb to the Slaughter - directed by Hitchcock himself - went on to be nominated for an Emmy Award in 1958, while Man From The South, featuring Peter Lorre and legendary actor Steve McQueen, remains one of the series' most famous episodes.

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