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Alan Caillou
Born Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe
9 November 1914 (1914-11-09)
Surrey, England, UK
Died 1 October 2006 (2006-11) (aged 91)
Sedona, Arizona, U.S.
Nationality British
Occupation Author, actor, screenwriter, soldier, policeman and professional hunter

Alan Caillou was the nom de plume of Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe M.B.E., M.C. (9 November 1914 – 1 October 2006),[1] an English- born author, actor, screenwriter, soldier, policeman and professional hunter.


Alan Lyle-Smythe was born in Surrey, England. Prior to World War II, he served with the Palestine Police from 1936 to 1939 and learned the Arabic language.[2] He was awarded an MBE in June 1938.[3] He married Aliza Sverdova in 1939, then studied acting from 1939–1941.[4]

In January 1940, Lyle-Smythe was commissioned in the Royal Army Service Corps. Due to his linguistic skills, he transferred to the Intelligence Corps[5] and served in the Western Desert, in which he used the surname "Caillou" (the French word for 'pebble') as an alias.

He was captured in North Africa, imprisoned and threatened with execution in Italy, then escaped to join the British forces at Salerno. He was then posted to serve with the partisans in Yugoslavia. He wrote about his experiences in the book The World is Six Feet Square (1954). He was promoted to captain and awarded the Military Cross in 1944.[6]

Following the war, he returned to the Palestine Police from 1946 to 1947, then served as a Police Commissioner in British-occupied Italian Somaliland from 1947 to 1952, where he was recommissioned a Captain.[7] He wrote about this experience in the book Sheba Slept Here.

After work as a District Officer in Somalia and professional hunter, Lyle-Smythe travelled to Canada, where he worked as a hunter and then became an actor on Canadian television.[citation needed]

Writing career

He wrote his first novel, Rogue's Gambit, in 1955, first using the name Caillou, one of his aliases from the war. Moving from Vancouver to Hollywood,[8] he made an appearance as a contestant on the 23 January 1958 edition of You Bet Your Life.[9]

He appeared as an actor and/or worked as a screenwriter in such shows as Daktari, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (including the screenwriting for "The Bow-Wow Affair" from 1965), Thriller, Daniel Boone, Quark, Centennial, and How the West Was Won. In 1966, he had a recurring role in NBC's "Tarzan" TV series starring Ron Ely. Caillou appeared in such television movies as Sole Survivor (1970), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1972, as Inspector Lestrade), and Goliath Awaits (1981). His cinema film credits included roles in Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962), Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965), The Rare Breed (1966), The Devil's Brigade (1968), Hellfighters (1968), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), Beyond Evil (1980), The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) and The Ice Pirates (1984).

Caillou wrote 52 paperback thrillers under his own name and the nom de plume of Alex Webb, with such heroes as Cabot Cain, Colonel Matthew Tobin, Mike Benasque, Ian Quayle and Josh Dekker, as well as writing many magazine stories. He also wrote books under female names.[10]

Several of Caillou's novels were filmed, such as Rampage with Robert Mitchum in 1963, based on his big game hunting knowledge; Assault on Agathon (with Nico Minardos as Cabot Cain), for which Caillou did the screenplay as well; and The Cheetahs, filmed in 1989.

Personal life

He was married to Aliza Sverdova from 1939 until his death. Their daughter Nadia Caillou born 7 October 1952 is a screenwriter.


Alan Caillou died in Sedona, Arizona in 2006.

Partial filmography

  • Have Gun Will Travel (1959) - Roy Cooney
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - Rector (uncredited)
  • Seven Thieves (1960) - Doctor Gerald Halsey (uncredited)
  • The Fiercest Heart (1961) - Major Adrian
  • Pirates of Tortuga (1961) - Ringose (uncredited)
  • It Happened in Athens (1962) - Narrator (voice)
  • Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) - Inspector
  • The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) - Insp. Seymour (uncredited)
  • Signpost to Murder (1964) - Dr. Upjohn (uncredited)
  • Strange Bedfellows (1965) - Magistrate (uncredited)
  • Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965) - Carter
  • The Rare Breed (1966) - Taylor
  • The Devil's Brigade (1968) - Gen. Marlin
  • Hellfighters (1968) - Harry York
  • Sole Survivor (1970) - Albanian
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1972, TV Movie) - Inspector Lestrade
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972) - The Fool's Father
  • Dixie Dynamite (1976) - Englishman
  • Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) - Emile
  • Beyond Evil (1980) - Police Inspector
  • The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) - King Sancho
  • The Ice Pirates (1984) - Count Paisley (final film role)


  1. Variety Staff. "Alan Caillou". Variety. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  2. "Alan Caillou". Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  3. Gazette Website: PDF Navigator,; accessed 21 June 2017.
  4. "Authors "C" of ULTIMATE MYSTERY FICTION WEB GUIDE". Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  5. Gazette Website: PDF Navigator,; accessed 21 June 2017.
  6. Alan Lyle-Smythe awarded the Military Cross,; accessed 21 June 2017.
  7. Alan Lyle-Smythe recommissioned a Captain,; accessed 21 June 2017.
  8. p. 41 Weaver, Tom. Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Flashbacks. McFarland, 1998.
  9. "Alan Caillou". 
  10., -. "Alan Caillou". Retrieved 24 June 2017. 


  • [[:openlibrary:authors/{{{id}}}|Works by Alan Caillou]] on Open Library at the Internet Archive

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