Archie Goodwin

Rex Stout's Physical Description of Archie

Courtesy of the Stout estate, pulled from Rex Stout's own archives, here is rarely seen memorabilia. Rex Stout's own description of his beloved character, written in 1949 and not meant for publication at the time:

Height 6 ft. Weight 180 lbs. Age 32.

Hair is light rather than dark, but just barely decided not to be red; he gets it cut every two weeks, rather short, and brushes it straight back, but it keeps standing up. He shaves four times a week and grasps at every excuse to make it only three times. His features are all regular, well-modeled and well-proportioned, except the nose. He escapes the curse of being the movie actor type only through the nose. It is not a true pug and is by no means a deformity, but it is a little short and the ridge is broad, and the tip has continued on its own, beyond the cartilage, giving the impression of startling and quite independent initiative. The eyes are grey, and are inquisitive and quick to move. He is muscular both in appearance and in movement, and upright in posture, but his shoulders stoop a little in unconscious reaction to Wolfe's repeated criticism that he is too self-assertive.

Archie facts from Too Many Women. On page 133, Cecily says, "Your father's name is James Arner Goodwin, and you were born in Canton, Ohio, in nineteen-fourteen. Your mother's maiden name was Leslie. You have two brothers and two sisters."

Archie's Most Often Repeated Job Description

  • Bullet for One: " his man Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...."  
  • Poison a la Carte: "...his assistant detective and man Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...."  
  • If Death Ever Slept: "...Nero Wolfe's man Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday...."  

The Wit and Wisdom of Archie Goodwin

Origin of Archie's Name

According to the Topeka Capital Journal (boyhood home of Rex Stout), in 1905, when Rex Stout was 18, his phonograph player was stolen. The name of the policeman credited with tracking down the thief and returning the phonograph to the teenager was A. G. Goodwin. Click here to read the full story, along with Mr. Stout's comment.

In Rex Stout's first known interview, which appeared in the Topeka Daily Capital in 1907 while he was on leave from he assignment on President Theodore Roosevelt Navy yacht, he notes that "...Archie Roosevelt is a badly spoiled child and is not liked by the crew of the Mayflower." Click here to read to the full article.

Archie—Chillicothe's Home Town Hero

In 2008 The Columbus Dispatch ran a story regarding Chillicothe references in fact and fiction. Rex Stout and Archie Goodwin are of course featured. Click here to read all about it.

A Lily Tidbit: The Origin of Escamillo (her nickname for Archie)

Lily and Archie: when Lily christens Archie "Escamillo" in Some Buried Caesar, it's a reference to George Bizet's opera Carmen. In that opera Carmen leaves the innocent man that she has corrupted for the dashing toreador Escamillo. Knowledge of this allusion adds new depth to our appreciation of Lily's quick decision-making in Some Buried Caesar.

Another Lily Tidbit: "Truffles to Die For" is Fritz tale of Lily's contribution to the brownstone's comestibles.(Thank you Alan Vanneman for discovering this rare contribution from Mr. Brenner to brownstone lore.)


Another Famous Archie Fan

(Also see Stout correspondence page.)

Dame Agatha Christie was a huge Rex Stout fan. She was known to go to her local bookstore and enquire after the latest Archie Goodwin novel. The clerk would gently remind her that they're referred to as Nero Wolfe mysteries, to which Christie would reply, "Nonsense! Everyone knows that Archie does all the work!"

Archie Goodwin—Second Banana

Read columnist Bruce Tierneys thoughts on Archie and other Second Bananas:

Also, here is David Zeltserman's keynote speech from a Bouchercon Nero Wolfe Banquet:

Archie's Fedorras

Depictions of Archie from TV, Movies, Magazines, Book Covers, Original Artwork

(and some that just remind us of him

  • Woodcut of Archie by Kevin I. Gordon, noted portraitist (used with permission)
  • Sketch of Archie from Rex Stout's Archives (source unknown)
  • Woodcut of Lily Rowan by Kevin I. Gordon, noted portraitist (used with permission)
  • Archie Business Card from Nadine
  • Bitter End in American Magazine, 1940, Nov.
  • Cop Killer
  • Archie in HELP WANTED, MALE (Illustration from American Magazine, June, 1945
  • Archie in IMMUNE TO MURDER (Illustration from American Magazine, Nov., 1955 by Thorton Utz)
  • Archie & Wolfe in OVER MY DEAD BODY (Illustration from American Magazine, Sept., 1939)
  • Archie & Wolfe in PLOT IT YOURSELF (Illustration from Mystery Guild, Feb., 1960)
  • Archie & Wolfe in THE RED BOX (Illustration from American Magazine, Dec., 1936)
  • Archie & Wolfe in THE RED BOX (Illustration from The Detroit Free Press)
  • Archie & Wolfe in SEE NO EVIL (Illustration from American Magazine, Aug., 1951)
  • Archie & Wolfe in THIS WILL KILL YOU (Illustration from American Magazine, Sept., 1952)
    (published in THREE MEN OUT as THIS WON'T KILL YOU)
  • Archie & Wolfe on the Cover of TROUBLE IN TRIPLICATE (early Bantam printing)
  • Archie & Wolfe on the Cover of TROUBLE IN TRIPLICATE (Spanish language printing)
  • Archie & Wolfe in WILL TO MURDER (Illustration from American Magazine, Nov., 1955)
  • Archie & Wolfe in THE FRIGHTENED MEN (Illustration by Rico Tomaso from The Saturday Evening Post, June, 1935)
    Published in book form as THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN
  • Archie, Wolfe, & Hattie Annis. Clipping from magazine publication of THE COUNTERFEITER'S KNIFE (Illustration by Austin Briggs, The Saturday Evening Post, Jan., 1961)
    Published in book form as COUNTERFEIT FOR MURDER in HOMICIDE TRINITY
  • Timothy Hutton as Archie in the 2001-2002 TV Series A NERO WOLFE MYSTERY
  • Tom Mason as Archie in the 1977 TV film of THE DOORBELL RANG (starring Thayer Dvid as Wolfe)
  • Lee Horsley as Archie in the 1981 TV Series NERO WOLFE (starring William Conrad as Wolfe)
  • Lionel Stander as Archie and Edward Arnold as Nero Wolfe in MEET NERO WOLFE (1936)
  • Archie Goodwin, Private Investigator
  • Archie Goodwin -- keyboarding
  • Archie Goodwin protecting St. Louis, MO
  • Archie's fedora resting on his "to be filed" pile
Woodcut of Archie by Kevin I. Gordon, noted portraitist (used with permission)
Woodcut of Archie by Kevin I. Gordon, noted portraitist (used with permission)