Robert Jordan (real name James Oliver Rigney, Jr, 1948–2007) was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where he lived in a house built in 1797 with his wife Harriet, who works as a book editor. He was a graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics. He served two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. A history buff, he also wrote dance and theater criticism. He enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. Jordan described himself as a ”High Church” Episcopalian. He died of amyloidosis in 16th of September, 2007.
Robert Jordan had said that his pen names had all been chosen from three lists of names using his real initials, and that one of his pen names managed to contain all three of his initials in both the first name and the surname.