O. Henry: A Life in Stories

DVD Release: December 19, 2006
O. Henry: A Life in Stories


William Sydney Porter was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, on September 11, 1862. In due course he became a licensed pharmacist. In his colorful lifetime he would also become a bank teller, a bookkeeper, a clerk, an illustrator, a draftsman in the General Land Office, and a newspaperman, editor, reporter, columnist, and cartoonist. “Will,” as his family and neighbors called him, also learned to break a stubborn bronco, lasso cattle, shear sheep, and he could rope, ride and shoot a gun. Will Porter was also a writer. He wrote stories mostly, short stories, often about ordinary people. He used many names when he wrote. Sometimes he would be S. H. Peters, James L. Bliss, T. B. Dowd, Mr. Barkas or John Arbuthnott. All in all, he wrote hundreds of stories and he also wrote under another favorite name: O. Henry.

Dove Review

Who was O. Henry? Most people know him as a great short story writer. Born William Porter, he worked at many different jobs over his lifetime, but one true constant was his love of storytelling. He loved to write stories that related to the people around him. From pharmacist to editor, from cowboy to bank teller and even a stay in prison for embezzlement, O. Henry captured the mannerisms of the people he wrote about.

This film is a documentary of O. Henry’s life. It reveals his unwillingness to grow up and face responsibilities, along with his varied relationships and problems with alcohol. The film also describes his love of storytelling and music and his nomadic lifestyle. This is a unique history of this classic writer that reveals the man behind the stories.

We award this documentary the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages, although it may not keep the attention of younger children.

Content Description

Sex: Discussion regarding being a lady's man and also about connection to prostitutes.
Language: None
Violence: Discussion regarding western robbers and gunmen.
Drugs: Discussion regarding man being addicted to alcohol.
Nudity: None
Other: Discussion regarding loss of loved ones due to illness.


Company: Monterey Media
Director: Scott Mansfield
Genre: Documentary
Runtime: 43 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Ronald Rezac, Dr. James W. Thomas, Ph.D
Reviewer: Donna Rolfe