An Austrian writer, born Siegmund Salzmann, September 6th, 1869, in Budapest. When he was three weeks old, his family moved to Vienna. Many Jews were immigrating into the city in the late 1800's because Vienna had finally granted full citizenship to Jews in 1867.

His family was poor and he didn't have much formal education. Because of his lack of schooling, he began his career working menial jobs. Siegmund was dissatisfied. He whiled away his hours at the insurance office by writing, and submitted his poems and stories to the newspapers. * He quickly found recognition, and by 1896 succeeded Theodor Herzl as editor of the feuilleton (editorial) section of the Wiener Allgemeiner Zeitung. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, he was one of the biggest German theater critics. He was also a member of the Young Vienna movement. In 1910, he began writing novels.

His most famous work by far is Bambi, though most people don't know that he wrote it, or even that it was a novel before it became a film. He was inspired to write the book after a trip to the Alps, in 1923. It was published three years later. In 1933, he sold the rights, and he didn't see a cent from the movie.

Life in Austria became perilous for a prominent Jew in the 1930's, and he moved to Zurich, Switzerland in 1938. Two years before this, Hitler had Bambi banned.

He had a wife, Ottilie Metz, and two children: Paul and Anna-Katherina. His story The Hound of Florence inspired another Disney film: The Shaggy Dog.

A list of his novels:

  • Olga Frohgemuth (1910)
  • Bambi, a Life in the Woods (1926)
  • Martin Overbeck (1927)
  • Animal Novels: 15 Rabbits (1929)
  • Florian the Emperor's Horse (1933)
  • Djibi, the Little Cat (1945)


* Edited August 17 2005: Big thanks to krenseby for correcting an embarassing error in Salten's biography -- he was not as romantically obscure as I made him out to be.

Sources: feuchtwanger/exiles/salten.html IDSC29001S99/texts/bambi.html COFFEE_HISTORY/coffeehtm/SaltenFILM.HTML