• Birth—April 15, 1940
• Where—London; raised in Somerset, England, UK
• Education—Oxford University; Oxford Institute
• Currently—lives in London and the Old Vicarage,
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare is a best-selling English author and former politician whose political career ended with his conviction and subsequent imprisonment (2001–03) for perjury and perverting the course of justice. Alongside his literary work, Archer was a Member of Parliament (1969–74), deputy chairman of the Conservative Party (1985–86) and was made a life peer in 1992.
Jeffrey Howard Archer was born in the City of London Maternity Hospital. He was two weeks old when his family moved to the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, where he spent most of his early life. He has an older brother born out of wedlock, also originally called Jeffrey, who was put up for adoption at an early age. The brother assumed the name David Brown and only discovered his relationship to Archer in 1980.
In 1951 Archer won a scholarship to Wellington School, in Somerset (not to be confused with the public school Wellington College). At this time his mother, Lola, contributed a column "Over the Teacups" to the local press in Weston-super-Mare and wrote about the adventures of her son 'Tuppence'; this caused Archer to be the victim of bullying while at Wellington School.
After Archer left school passing O-levels in English Literature, Art, and History, he worked in a number of jobs, including training with the army and for the police. This lasted only for a few months, but he fared better as a Physical Education teacher; first at Vicar's Hill, a Prep School in Hampshire where he taught fencing amongst other sports, later at the more prestigious independent school Dover College in Kent. As a teacher he was popular with pupils and was reported by some to have had good motivational skills, helping to instil personal confidence in the less confident.
Archer studied for three years, gaining an academic qualification in teaching awarded by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The course was based at Brasenose College, Oxford, although Archer was never registered as an undergraduate student of the College.
He raised money for the charity Oxfam, obtaining the support of The Beatles in a charity fundraising drive. The band accepted his invitation to visit the senior common room of Brasenose College, where they were photographed with Archer and dons of the college, although they did not play there.
It was during this period that Archer met his wife, Mary Weeden, at that time studying chemistry at St Anne's College, Oxford. They married in July 1966. Mary went on to specialise in solar power.
After leaving Oxford, he continued as a charity fundraiser, working for the National Birthday Trust, a medical charity. He also began a career in politics, serving as a Conservative councillor on the Greater London Council during 1967–70.
One organization Archer worked for, the United Nations Association, alleged discrepancies in his claims for expenses, and details appeared in the press in a scrambled form. Archer brought a defamation action against the former Conservative member of parliament Humphry Berkeley, chairman of the UNA, as the source of the allegations. The case was settled out of court after three years. Berkeley tried to persuade Conservative Central Office that Archer was unsuitable as a parliamentary candidate, but a selection meeting at Louth disregarded any doubts.
Archer set up his own fund-raising company, Arrow Enterprises, in 1969. That same year he opened an art gallery, the Archer Gallery, in Mayfair. The gallery specialised in modern art, including pieces by the acclaimed sculptor and painter Leon Underwood. The gallery ultimately lost money, however, and Archer sold it two years later.
His first book, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1976. The book was an instant success, with BBC Television adapting the book in 1990, following a BBC radio adaptation in the early 1980s.
Kane and Abel proved to be his best-selling works, reaching number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. It was made into a television mini-series by CBS in 1985, starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. The following year, Granada TV screened a ten-part adaptation of another Archer bestseller, First Among Equals, which told the story of four men and their quest to become Prime Minister.
In 2011, Archer published Only Time Will Tell, the first of what will be five books in The Clifton Chronicles, which follow the life of Harry Clifton from his birth in 1920, through to the finale in 2020.
In 1969 at the age of 29, Archer was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for the Lincolnshire constituency of Louth, holding the seat for the Conservative Party in a by-election on 4 December 1969. Archer won over a substantial proportion of younger members at the selection meeting.
In Parliament, Archer was on the left of the Conservative Party, rebelling against some of his party's policies. He urged free TV licences for the elderly and was against museum charges. Archer voted against restoring capital punishment, saying it was barbaric and obscene.
In 1974, he was a casualty of a fraudulent investment scheme involving Aquablast, a Canadian company, a debacle which lost Archer his first fortune. Fearing imminent bankruptcy, he stood down as an MP at the October 1974 general election. By this time the Archers were living in a large five-bedroom house in The Boltons, an exclusive street in South Kensington. As a result of the Aquablast affair, they were forced to sell the house and move into more modest accommodation for a while.
Archer's political career was revived again in 1985 once he became known for his novel. He was a popular speaker among the Conservative grassroots and made deputy chairman of the Conservative Party by Margaret Thatcher in September 1985.
During his tenure as deputy chairman, Archer was responsible for a number of embarrassing moments, including his statement, made during a live radio interview, that many young, unemployed people were simply unwilling to find work. At the time of Archer's comment, unemployment in the UK stood at a record 3.4 million. Archer was later forced to apologise for the remark, suggesting that his words had been "taken out of context."
Scandals and trials
In 1986 Archer was the subject of an article in The News of the World, "Tory boss Archer pays vice-girl." The story claimed Archer had paid Monica Coghlan, a prostitute, £2,000 through an intermediary at Victoria Station to go abroad.
When the Daily Star also alleged Archer had paid for sex with Coghlan, he responded by suing that paper. The case came to court in July 1987. Explaining the payment to Coghlan as the action of a philanthropist rather than that of a guilty man, Archer won the case and was awarded £500,000 damages. Archer stated he would donate the money to charity. This case would ultimately result in Archer's final exit from front-line politics some years later.
Archer lost a libel case after accusations in his book Twist in the Tale, portraying Major General James Oluleye to be a thief. (Oluleye is the author of Architecturing a Destiny and Military Leadership in Nigeria.)
In 1994, Mary Archer, then a director of Anglia Television, attended a directors' meeting at which an impending takeover of Anglia Television by MAI, which owned Meridian Broadcasting, was discussed. The following day, Jeffrey Archer bought 50,000 shares in Anglia Television, acting on behalf of a friend, Broosk Saib. Shortly after this, it was announced publicly that Anglia Television would be taken over by MAI. As a result the shares jumped in value, whereupon Archer sold them on behalf of his friend for a profit of £77,219. The arrangements he made with the stockbrokers meant he did not have to pay at the time of buying the shares.
An inquiry was launched by the Stock Exchange into possible insider trading. The Department of Trade and Industry, however, announced that Archer would not be prosecuted due to lack of sufficient evidence.
In 1999, Archer had been selected by the Conservative Party as candidate for the 2000 London mayoral election. But when the News of the World published allegations that he had committed perjury in his 1987 libel case (see above), Archer withdrew his candidacy. In July, 2001, Archer was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice at the 1987 trial. He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, though released after two.
After the perjury allegations broke, Archer was disowned by his party. Conservative leader William Hague explained: "This is the end of politics for Jeffrey Archer. I will not tolerate such behaviour in my party." In 2000 Archer was expelled from the party for five years.
When Saddam Hussein suppressed Kurdish uprisings in 1991, Archer, with the Red Cross, set up the charity Simple Truth, a fundraising campaign on behalf of the Kurds. In 1992 Archer was made a life peer, as Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, of Mark in the County of Somerset. Prime minister John Major recommended him largely because of his role in aid to the Kurds.
Kane and Abel series
–Shall We Tell the President? (1977)
–Kane and Abel (1980)
–The Prodigal Daughter (1982)
Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less (1976)
First Among Equals (1984)
A Matter of Honour (1986)
As the Crow Flies (1991)
Honour Among Thieves (1993)
The Fourth Estate (1996)
The Eleventh Commandment (1998)
Sons of Fortune (2002)
False Impression (2005)
A Prisoner of Birth (2008)
Paths of Glory (2009)
Only Time Will Tell (2011)
(Author bio adapted from Wikipedia.)
Site by BOOM
LitLovers © 2016