Born on September 6, 1869 in Budapest, Hungary, Siegmund Salzmann would take the name Felix Salten and pen one of the most beloved animal stories, Bambi, a Life in the Woods.
He had a job as an insurance agent, but he found it boring so he wrote poems and short stories under pseudonyms. Eventually, he adopted one of them as his own name and became a journalist for newspapers in Berlin and Vienna. He married actress Ottilie Metz in 1902 and they had a son and daughter. In 1938, those children helped the couple move to Zurich, Switzerland when Germany annexed Austria.
In 1915, he wrote the historical novel Prinz Eugen, but it was the 1923 publication of his book about animal rights, Bambi, that reserved his place in history. The fawn’s name comes from the Italian word for baby, “bambino.” The Nazis banned Bambi in 1936. The American Rifleman’s Association denounced the book as representing hunters in a bad light.
Another animal book, Florian, the Emporer’s Horse, was published in 1933. It was the story of a Lipizzaner stallion who must pull a wagon through the streets of Vienna after World War I.
Felix Salten died in Zurich on October 8, 1945.