Obituaries (Vol. 109)
Kathy Acker April 18, 1948–November 30, 1997 American novelist, essayist, and short story writer
A controversial avant-garde writer and cult figure of the punk movement, Kathy Acker was considered among the most significant proponents of radical feminism and the postmodern literary aesthetic. Associated with the discordant, irreverent music of punk rock, Acker's iconoclastic metafiction—an amalgam of extreme profanity, violence, graphic sex, autobiography, fragmented narrative, and plagiarized texts—rejects conventional morality and traditional modes of literary expression. Her best known works, including Great Expectations, Blood and Guts in High School, and Don Quixote,...
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Robbie Tilley Branscum June 17, 1937–May 24, 1997 American children's author
Branscum's stories for children mirrored the environment in which she was raised, and focused on the hardships and joys of country life. She grew up in Big Flat, Arkansas, dropped out of school in the seventh grade, married at age fifteen, divorced at age twenty-five, and after that worked on dirt farms. She was an avid reader and decided to try writing when a Southern Baptist newsletter accepted her essay "Men Who Walked with God." During her writing career she won many awards, including a Friends of American Writers Award in 1977 for Toby, Granny, and George and an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1983 for The...
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Leon Edel September 9, 1907–September 5, 1997 American biographer and professor
Best known for his five-volume biography of Henry James, Edel spent most of his life completing research for this work. It was while he was living in Paris that his interest in James was aroused, leading to his in-depth research. Edel talked to people who had known James, tracked down letters written by James, and had sole unrestricted use of thousands of manuscript letters at Harvard and elsewhere. He wore a ring that had belonged to James and, according to a London Times reviewer, colleagues teased Edel, telling him that he wasn't just researching James but was, in truth, married to his work. Edel taught at...
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Percy Granger August 8, 1945–March 10, 1997 American playwright, screenwriter, and actor
Granger, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, was a founding member of Manhattan's Ensemble Studio Theater. He made his Broadway playwrighting debut in 1982 with Eminent Domain. An active part of the theatre, he started producing plays in 1972 with The Complete Works of Stud Edsel, a semi-autobiographical work about an idealistic law student who flees to Canada to escape the draft. Granger was also the author of the plays Scheherezade, The Dolphin Position, and Vivien, and the screenplays My Brother's Wife and The Comeback. He was one of the creators of...
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Helene Hanff April 15, 1916–April 9, 1997 American playwright, screenwriter, and author
Hanff was an unheard-of freelance author, writing for television shows like "Playhouse 90," "The Adventures of Ellery Queen," and "Hallmark Hall of Fame" before the release of her book 84, Charing Cross Road in 1970. Called charming by reviewers, the book is actually an epistolary memoir containing letters written between Hanff, in New York City, and Marks & Co bookseller Frank Doel, in London. Hanff, self-taught and a voracious reader, started writing to the used bookstore in 1949 when she began her life-long quest as a book collector. Although the letters from Doel were originally very succinct...
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Charles Kuralt September 10, 1934–September 4, 1997 American journalist and writer
The recipient of three Peabody Awards and twelve Emmys, Kuralt worked for CBS for thirty-seven years as a journalist. At twenty-five he became the youngest correspondent for CBS, covering the Vietnam War and reporting from many Latin American countries, as well as becoming the anchor on "CBS News Sunday Morning." He was the author of over a half dozen books, including The Perfect Year and Dateline America, but his real fame came from his "On the Road" reports written over a period of thirteen years, from 1967 to 1980. Traveling around the country in a motor home, Kuralt covered stories that other...
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Judith Merril January 21, 1923–September 12, 1997 American science fiction writer
Merril was one of the first female writers to enter the science fiction genre. Known as a pioneer of feminist ideas, her first science fiction story, about a mother's devoted love for a child deformed by radiation, was published in 1948 in Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Along with Isaac Asimov, James Blish, C. M. Kornbluth, and Frederick Pohl, she was associated with a group of science fiction enthusiasts called the Futurians. She was the editor of several anthologies of the best science fiction stories, widening the horizons of what was accepted as science fiction by her choice of stories published...
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Ann Petry October 12, 1908–April 28, 1997 American educator and writer
Petry was best known for her first novel, The Street, the first major literary novel about life in Harlem. Petry grew up in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, a member of one of the few black families in the area, and was only exposed to Harlem for a nine-month period in which she worked in a Harlem experimental after-school program. However, she was considered a woman of great empathy and imagination, and her book about Ludie Johnson and Ludie's eight-year-old son Bub became an instant success upon its release in 1946. She wrote two other novels—Country Place, 1947, and The Narrows, 1953—but neither received...
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V. S. Pritchett December 16, 1900–March 20, 1997 British author, reviewer, biographer, and journalist
Pritchett was a writer whose optimistic portrayals of everyday life gave him a career writing reviews and essays for the Christian Science Monitor, the New Statesman, and the Nation, as well as some forty books of short stories, essays, literary criticism, novels, biographies, and travelogues. Best known for his short stories, including "When My Girl Comes Home," "A Sense of Humor," "The Camberwell Beauty," and "The Fly in the Ointment," he was knighted in 1975 for his services to literature. Gore Vidal, the well-known American author, said of Pritchett, "I reviewed a book...
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A. L. Rowse December 4, 1903–October 3, 1997 British historian and writer
Rowse, the author of one hundred books of history, poetry, literary criticism, biography, and autobiography, was known as an expert on the Elizabethan Age. He was a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and in 1996 was made the Companion of Honor, a coveted royal honor bestowed for "conspicuous national service." He is best known for his The Elizabethan Age, a four-volume set of books exploring Elizabethan history, that received nearly universal acclaim for being historically accurate and vividly written. He is also credited with discovering that the "Dark Lady" in Shakespearean sonnets was Emilia Bassano Lanier. His...
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Obituaries (Vol. 119)
Raymond E. Brown May 22, 1928–August 8, 1998 Biblical Scholar
The first Catholic to be tenured at Union Theological Seminary, a historically Protestant institution, the Reverend Raymond E. Brown was an internationally influential biblical scholar. He was among the first Catholic scholars to take advantage of a new openness within the Catholic church to critical biblical studies. Father Brown questioned whether it is historically possible to prove the virgin conception of Jesus Christ, which subjected him to attack by a number of Roman Catholic conservatives. Being a man of great intellectual integrity, and possessing great communicative ability, Father Brown maintained the highest respect as a major figure in biblical studies. His scholarly career spanned more than four decades, and he was the author of nearly forty books, which included commentaries on the New Testament and detailed studies of the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth and death. An Introduction to the New Testament and The Death of the Messiah are two notable works that distinctively hallmark Father Brown's biblical research. Father Brown's writings and lectures steered clear of fundamentalism, were mainly devoted to reaching an audience of interested lay people, and were grounded in achieving critical understanding of biblical accounts. Ordained as a priest in the Diocese of St. Augustine, FL, in 1953, Father Brown served as an advisor to his bishop at the Second Vatican Council in 1963. He was the recipient of numerous academic and church distinctions, including more than 25 honorary doctorates, and had served as the president of various Catholic and Biblical organizations.
Leonardo Felice Buscaglia March 31, 1924–June 12, 1998 Lecturer and Social Philosopher
Affectionately and variously known as Dr. Love, the Love Merchant, and the Hug Doctor, Leo Buscaglia was the apostle of agape, or spiritual love. His self-help books on the dynamics of affection, and the exploration of the balance between life and death, sold 11 million copies in 20 languages. Among them were Loving Each Other and Living, Loving, and Learning. His most recent was Love Cookbook, which was published in 1994. Born to a close Italian immigrant family with 10 siblings, Buscaglia had no trouble finding words of love and affection. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in education, Buscaglia found himself curious about other religions. He went to Asia and compared Zen Buddhism and Hinduism to his own Christian faith. The common denominator he found in all faiths was to love your neighbor, which became the founding principle of his teachings. His first book, Love, was published in 1972. As an education professor at the University of Southern California from 1975 to 1984, he "shook up" the institution when he started classes on love, including Love 101. In 1991, U. S. C. honored Buscaglia by establishing the Leo F. Buscaglia Scholarship for Inner City Teachers Education. Although the effervescent speaker was cherished and lauded, he was not exempt from criticism. Since Buscaglia never married or fathered children, his messages were sometimes received as hollow. Often, he would respond that his love embraced and encompassed all of humanity. Customarily, Buscaglia would end his motivational speeches by giving everyone in the audience a hug.
Catherine Cookson June 20, 1906–June 11, 1998 British Novelist
Born to an alcoholic mother on the industrial banks of the Tyne in northeastern England, Catherine Cookson became one of Britain's most popular and best-read novelists. She was the author of more than 90 novels with a combined distribution of more than 100 million copies. Her novels almost always reflected her grim and gritty life she knew as a girl—the victim of sexual abuse, having to fetch beer for her mother and never knowing her father. Her stories were set in the same impoverished working-class world she grew up dreaming of escaping. They were tales of family conflict, social despair, and the debilitating effects of deprivation. Cookson's adult life continued to be tumultuous. Stricken with a rare blood disorder that involved continual hemorrhaging, Cookson suffered a stillbirth and three miscarriages. Her husband Tom, a schoolteacher, encouraged her to overcome her despair by writing. Her first book, Kate Hannigan, was published in 1950. Although none of her novels won literary acclaim, a number of her books, including The Black Candle and The Velvet Gown were made into television movies. Cookson, an officer of the British Empire since 1985, was made a dame, the equivalent of a knight, in 1993.
Allen Stuart Drury 1918–September 2, 1998 Political Novelist
Allen Drury, Stanford alumni, WWII Army veteran, and former reporter in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times, was a prolific author of 19 novels and 5 books of nonfiction. Known as the quintessential Washington novelist, Drury won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for Advise and Consent, an encompassing work of betrayal, intrigue, and insider knowledge of Congress. Interestingly, the title, Advise and Consent, was taken from a sentence in the Constitution stating: "The Senate shall advise and consent to the president's nominations to the Cabinet." Advise and Consent has been labeled the precursor to Primary Colors, the fictionalized, yet allegorical, representation of contemporary political scandal. Drury used complicated plots and larger-than-life characters to illuminate his stories; and his characters were often entangled in moral ambiguities. Advise and Consent was so popular that it became a Broadway play, and in 1962, it was made into a movie that starred Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon, and Charles Laughton. Drury went on to write six sequels, including Preserve and Protect and A Shade of Difference. These sequels followed a group of Washington characters through a series of political crises. In 1998, Drury completed his 20th novel, Public Men, a trilogy about Stanford and young men involved in the events of WWI.
Elena Garra December 12, 1920–August 22, 1998 Mexican playwright and novelist
Best known for her expositions on the clash between Latin American illusion and reality, Elena Garra was one of Mexico's most important literary figures. She was best known for her first novel, Los Recuerdos del Porvenir (Recollections of Things to Come), a powerful account of a clash between the Church and State during the presidency of General Obregon in the 1920s. Her works are described as provocative, with an understated eloquence. She wrote over 40 novels and stories, including eight plays. Garra's radical political views and support of many liberal causes, culminated in her being forced to leave Mexico, seeking sanctuary first in the United States, then Paris, then later in Spain, where she resided until 1991. During her periods of exile, her husband, Octavio Paz, another highly notable Mexican literary figure, divorced her. They never spoke again. Afterwards, Garra became even more outspoken against Mexican regime. Despite her symbiotic relationship with Mexico, she was canonized as one of Mexico's greatest authors of the twentieth century at the National Theatre Program in Aguascalientes.
Julian Hartridge Green September 6, 1900–August 13, 1998 American/French novelist and playwright
Born in Paris to American parents of Southern heritage, Julian Green enriched the French language with tales of the American South. Self-described as a "Southerner lost in Europe," Green is believed to have had the longest career of any major 20th-century writer. Green's novels are characterized as Gothic, because his subject matter usually revolves around murder, suicide, sadism, and insanity. Green's works also reflect his tormented struggle between his homosexual desires and his Roman Catholic faith. All but a few of his books were written in French, and he was extremely prolific—producing more...
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Ralph Hammond Innes July 15, 1913–June 10, 1998 Adventure and Suspense Novelist
Born in Horsham, England, and beginning his career as a journalist for the Financial Times, Hammond Innes was the author of more than 30 adventure and suspense novels. A former artillery major and yachtsman, Innes traveled the world in search of stories. Published in 1956, The Wreck of the Mary Deare was perhaps his most notable work, and was made into a film starring Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston, and Michael Redgrave. His final novel, Delta Connection, was published in 1996. Innes, a champion for the writer's cause, campaigned for a Public Lending Right and was an active member of the Society of...
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Anatoly Rybakov January 14, 1911–December 23, 1998 Russian Novelist
Author of the long-suppressed novel, Children of the Arbat, Anatoly Rybakov wrote books that served as a bridge between the Stalinist and glasnost eras in the Soviet Union. Children of the Arbat was released in the United States in 1988 after the glasnost reform policies of Mikhail Gorbachev were established. The book has been internationally acclaimed for meticulously raising the credibility of Gorbachev's new policies of openness and reform. The book also simultaneously and metaphorically exposed the misery of those who perished at the hands of Josef Stalin. Rybakov wrote sequels to Children of the Arbat...
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Paul Antony Tanner March 18, 1935–December 5, 1998 Cambridge Professor of American Literature
English-born Paul Antony Tanner was instrumental in making American literature a subject of serious study at Cambridge University. In 1960, American literature was still considered a young and exotic specialty, not worthy of a place in English academia at Cambridge. After returning from the United States on a two-year Harkness fellowship, taken at the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University, Tanner wrote a doctoral dissertation on wonder and naivete in American literature. Subsequently, Tanner's dissertation became the first on an American subject to be accepted by the Cambridge...
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Dorothy West June 2, 1907–August 16, 1998 Harlem Renaissance Writer
Affectionately nicknamed "the Kid," by Harlem Renaissance writer, poet, and humorist Langston Hughes, Dorothy West began writing stories at the age of seven in her family's elegant four-story house in Boston. West was the only child of Rachel and Isaac, a rich produce dealer, and former slave. West's stories and novels used brisk narratives, detail, and wit to explore the aspirations of prosperous blacks, while juxtaposing the themes of race, class, and interracial tensions in America. Her writings were not overtly political, but tended to portray lyrical depictions of vanity, wistfulness, misunderstanding, and love. In 1926,...
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Obituaries (Vol. 86)
Lindsay Gordon Anderson April 17, 1923–August 30, 1994 Indian-born British film and stage director
The director of such films as This Sporting Life (1963), If … (1969), and O Lucky Man! (1973), Anderson was a proponent of the British "Free Cinema" movement which emphasized the artist's responsibility toward society and the individual. In his manifesto article "Stand Up! Stand Up!" (1956) Anderson lashed out at critics and filmmakers, urging them to develop a greater social consciousness and focus on "the significance of the everyday" in their work. For example, in This Sporting Life Anderson attacked the emotionally repressive structures of British society, while in If … he condemned the British public school system for stifling the creative development of students. Also a documentary filmmaker, Anderson won an Academy award for Thursday Children (1953), which concerns a school for deaf children. More recently Anderson directed The Whales of August (1987), which starred Lillian Gish and Bette Davis. [For further information on Anderson's life and career, see CLC, Volume 20.]
Robert Albert Bloch April 5, 1917–September 23, 1994 American novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter
Best known as the author of Psycho (1959), the novel which served as the basis for the film by Alfred Hitchcock, Bloch wrote over twenty novels, hundreds of short stories, and numerous film and television scripts in a variety of genres, including mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and humor. Bloch, who sold his first short story to the pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales when he was seventeen, was inspired and encouraged to write in his early teens by master horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, with whom he corresponded and developed a lifelong friendship. Bloch earned his living for many years contributing stories to pulp magazines and writing scripts for various horror films and for such television series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Star Trek. Described by writer Harlan Ellison as "the kindest, gentlest human being who ever lived," Bloch befriended and encouraged many young writers in addition to Ellison who have since become famous, notably Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. Arguing that Bloch was attracted to dark, sinister themes and characters because they "were so utterly alien to him," Ellison concluded that Bloch "was surely on a level with Poe." [For further information on Bloch's life and career, see CLC, Volume 33.]
Charles Bukowski August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994 German-born American poet, short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter
A prolific and seminal figure in underground literature, Bukowski is best known for writings in which he caustically indicted bourgeois American society while celebrating the lives of alcoholics, prostitutes, decadent writers, and other desperate characters in and around Los Angeles. In his early poems, for example those collected in Longshot Pomes for Broke Players (1962), Bukowski introduced his characteristic protagonist: the unstudied, self-exiled poet who rejects the public and the literary world in order to maintain his freedom and uniqueness as a writer; such subsequent collections as Poems Written before Jumping out of an 8-story Window (1968) and Fire Station (1970) deal in concrete, realistic terms with acts of rape, sodomy, deceit, and violence, focusing in particular on male-female relationships characterized by physical and emotional abuse. Like his poetry, Bukowski's fiction is considered largely autobiographical and has been both praised and vilified by critics. For example, while some commentators find his short story collections Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969) and Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972) misogynistic and formulaic, others laud them as pointed analyses of the short-sightedness, pettiness, and spiritual bankruptcy of American society. Bukowski is also known for the novels Post Office (1971), Factotum (1975), Ham on Rye (1982), and Barfly (1984), all of which concern Henry Chinaski, a hardened alcoholic. Bukowski wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film version of Barfly, which featured Faye Dunaway and Mickey Rourke, and was directed by Barbet Schroeder. [For further information on Bukowski's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 2, 5, 9, 41, and 82.]
Amy Clampitt June 15, 1920–September 10, 1994 American poet, essayist, and editor
Clampitt is known as a poetic stylist whose verse is characterized by vivid, baroque vocabulary, intricate syntax, attention to detail, and revealing metaphors. In her first full-length book, Kingfisher (1983), published when she was sixty-three, Clampitt combined a focus on nature with musings on life, death, and love. What the Light Was Like (1985), her critically acclaimed second collection of poetry, focuses on images of light and dark, and has been compared to the work of John Keats. Her other works include Multitudes, Multitudes (1974) and Archaic Figure (1987). [For further information on Clampitt's life and work, see CLC, Volume 32.]
James Edmund Du Maresq Clavell October 10, 1925–September 6, 1994 English-born American novelist, screenwriter, film director, and author of children's books
Clavell is known primarily for his best-selling novel Shōgun (1975) and his other fictional works that focus on East Asian customs, history, and economic and political power struggles. Clavell worked as a screenwriter in the 1950s and 1960s; his most notable work included writing The Fly (1958) and writing, directing, and producing To Sir with Love (1967). Although it was immensely popular with general readers, Shōgun received mixed reviews from specialists. For example, Asian historian Henry Smith lauded the novel for "[conveying] more information about Japan to more people than all the combined writings of scholars, journalists and novelists since the Pacific War." Other scholars and critics, however, questioned the authenticity of Clavell's portrait of feudal Japan and accused him of willfully distorting reality and sensationalizing history. In response, Clavell stated that he has "played with history—the where and how and who and why and when of it—to suit my own reality and, perhaps, to tell the real history of what came to pass." [For further information on Clavell's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 6, 25, and 87.]
Erik Homburger Erikson June 15, 1902–May 12, 1994 German-born American psychoanalyst, writer, and biographer
Erikson was one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the twentieth century. Although he studied under Sigmund and Anna Freud, he developed his own theory of human psychological development and was one of the first to explain how societal and cultural influences might contribute to an individual's emotional life. Retaining the Freudian concept of the ego, Erikson theorized that human development follows a series of eight predetermined stages. He believed that each stage is characterized by a particular crisis and that the resolution of each crisis substantially contributes to the individual's personality. These ideas are explored in such works as Childhood and Society (1950), Identity and the Life Cycle (1967), and The Life Cycle Completed: A Review (1982). Erikson is also known for his books Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Non-violence (1969), which won both a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (1958), his renowned and controversial "psychobiography" of Martin Luther. His own belief in nonviolent political activism, as well as his views on the nature of personal and professional crises, was tested when he chose to resign from the University of California in 1950 rather than sign a statement of loyalty during a period of intense anti-Communist sentiment. In 1987 the Erik Erikson Center was founded at the medical center of Harvard University, from which Erikson retired as professor emeritus in 1970.
Albert Goldman April 15, 1927–March 28, 1994 American biographer, critic, educator, and editor
Goldman was best known for his controversial biographies of pop music icons Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Published in 1981, Elvis portrayed the rock legend as selfish, lazy, greedy, and addicted to drugs and food. Responding to charges of self-indulgence and character assassination, Goldman insisted that his portrait of Presley maintained a scrupulous fidelity to the facts of his subject's life; critic Roy Blount, Jr. described Elvis as a "morbidly fascinating biography." Goldman's book on ex-Beatle John Lennon, The Lives of John Lennon (1988), met with similar censure for its...
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Clement Greenberg January 16, 1909–May 7, 1994 American critic and editor
One of the most widely-known and respected American art critics of this century, Greenberg came to prominence in the 1950s as an impassioned advocate for the works of Jackson Pollock and other members of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He began his career art in criticism in the 1930s as a regular contributor to the famous left-wing periodical Partisan Review, the forum for what would later be known as the "New York Intellectuals" school. Greenberg championed the work of Pollock—whose unique "drip" method of applying paint to monumental canvases was originally met with skepticism and confusion—at a time...
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Lewis M. Grizzard, Jr. October 20, 1946–March 20, 1994 American journalist and nonfiction writer
A nationally syndicated columnist who spent most of his journalistic career at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Grizzard was the author of twenty books, most of them humorous observations of his own life that bore such striking titles as Elvis Is Dead, and I Don't Feel So Good Myself (1984), Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes (1988), and Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night (1989). Grizzard began his career as the sports editor of a local paper while he was attending the University of Georgia. Hired by The Atlanta Journal soon after he...
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Joan Mary Harrison June 20, 1909–August 14, 1994 English screenwriter and film producer
Harrison began her career in film as secretary to Alfred Hitchcock and soon collaborated with him on many of his best screenplays, including Rebecca (1940), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Saboteur (1942). One of the few female producers in Hollywood, Harrison produced films by such noted directors as Robert Siodmak (Phantom Lady, 1944) and Jacques Tourneur (Circle of Danger, 1950). Film scholar Jeanine Basinger has noted that "all of Harrison's films have these qualities in common: excellent women characters, who are frequently intrepid in their...
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Ely Jacques Kahn, Jr. December 4, 1916–May 28, 1994 American journalist, nonfiction writer, biographer, and autobiographer
A staff writer for The New Yorker since 1937, Kahn wrote twenty-seven books and is credited with inventing the biographical profile article. Beginning with The New Yorker while he was still a senior at Harvard University, Kahn became the magazine's war correspondent during World War II and the Korean War. His military experiences resulted in three books, The Army Life (1942), The Peculiar War (1952), and The Stragglers (1962); in this last work, Kahn related stories of Japanese soldiers who continued to live in jungles and "fight" for many...
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Robert Edwin Lee October 15, 1918–July 8, 1994 American dramatist, scriptwriter, and screenwriter
Lee is best known for Inherit the Wind (1955). Written in collaboration with Lee's longtime partner, Jerome Lawrence, Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the famous "Scopes monkey trial," which focused on the teaching of Darwinian evolution and Biblical creationism in American schools. Lee and Lawrence were also responsible for the drama The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1970), another reconstruction of American historical events. Other popular plays, movies, and musicals that Lee produced include Look Ma, I'm Dancin' (1948), Auntie Mame (1956), and...
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Leonid Maximovich Leonov June 1, 1899–August 8, 1994 Russian novelist and playwright
A writer of considerable fame and importance in Soviet Russia, Leonov's novels and plays are notable for their pro-Soviet Socialist stance. Although his earliest works, including Konets melkogo cheloveka (1922; The End of Insignificant Man) and Barsuki (1924; The Badgers), reflect the influences of Honoré de Balzac and Fyodor Dostoevsky and garnered international acclaim, Leonov's later works have been faulted for slavishly reflecting the official Soviet demand for "socialist realism" in all art works. Nevertheless, some critics point to Sot (1930; Soviet River),...
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Richard Milhous Nixon January 9, 1913–April 22, 1994 American politician, memoirist, and nonfiction writer
Nixon was one of the United States's most controversial presidents—the only one forced to resign under threat of impeachment. Originally a lawyer, he entered Congress in the 1940s, serving as senator from California and later as vice president to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1968 Nixon was elected president. His administration was praised for several achievements in foreign affairs: notably opening relations with Communist China and establishing détente with the Soviet Union; eventually ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War; and for brokering an Arab-Israeli peace accord. However,...
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Michael O'Donoghue January 5, 1940–November 9, 1994 American television writer, screenwriter, and humorist
Best known for his work as a writer and occasional performer on the television series Saturday Night Live during the mid-1970s, O'Donoghue perfected a mordant and sometimes shocking brand of humor that has since proved highly influential. Starting out as a freelance writer for underground avant-garde magazines in the 1960s, he later wrote for National Lampoon magazine as well as the "National Lampoon Radio Hour," where he first worked with Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, and John Belushi. O'Donoghue was one of the original writers and performers on Saturday Night Live,...
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Juan Carlos Onetti July 1, 1909–May 30, 1994 Uruguayan-born Spanish novelist, short story writer, poet, and editor
One of Latin America's most distinguished writers, Onetti is known for works in which he explored such themes as despair, alienation, and the realities of urban life. While not generally known outside Latin America, Onetti has been praised for his lyricism, imaginative use of language and narration, and blending of fantasy and realism. Onetti's creation of the imaginary setting of Santa Maria, which recurs in several of his novels and is said to be modeled after the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, has also led many critics to compare him to William Faulkner, creator of fictional...
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John James Osborne December 12, 1929–December 24, 1994 English playwright, screenwriter, and autobiographer
Famous for his first major play, Look Back in Anger (1956), Osborne was one of a group of playwrights known as the "Angry Young Men"—which included John Wain, Kingsley Amis, and John Braine—who initiated a new era in English theater characterized by aggressive social criticism, authentic portrayals of working-class life, and antiheroic characters. Osborne, whose father died in 1940 and whose mother was the object of his passionate, lifelong hatred, left home in his late teens to become an actor and began writing plays when he was nineteen. In addition to Look Back in...
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Sir Karl Raimund Popper July 28, 1902–September 17, 1994 Austrian-born English philosopher
Known for his ideas on history, Marxism, and science, Popper is credited with providing much of the intellectual framework for the British Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s. Two of his most influential works—The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) and The Poverty of Historicism (1957)—attack Marxism and postulate that human history is not controlled by laws but rather by the unpredictable growth of knowledge. In Logik der Forschung: Zur Erkenntnistheorie der modernen Naturwissenschaft (1935; The Logic of Scientific Discovery) and Conjectures and...
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John Preston December 11, 1945–April 27, 1994 American novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and editor
Founder of the Gay House Inc. and Gay Community Services of Minneapolis, Preston was editor of the national gay and lesbian newspaper The Advocate from 1975 to 1976 before deciding to write full time. Among his best known fictional works are the 1983 novel about an aging homosexual entitled Franny, the Queen of Provincetown (1983); the short story collection I Once Had a Master, and Other Tales of Erotic Love (1984); and numerous mass-market paperback novels published under various pseudonyms. His nonfiction includes Safe Sex: The Ultimate Erotic Guide...
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Richard McClure Scarry June 5, 1919–April 30, 1994 American author and illustrator of children's books
An extraordinarily prolific and popular children's author, Scarry wrote over 200 books that have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into thirty languages. After studying drawing at the Boston Museum School and serving in the army during World War II, Scarry began illustrating books for other authors. His first major success as both author and illustrator was with Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever (1963), which defines and depicts over 1400 words and objects. His wife Patricia has explained that he "considered himself an educator more than anything."
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Randy Shilts August 8, 1951–February 17, 1994 American journalist and nonfiction writer
Known as the first openly gay journalist at a major American newspaper, Shilts is credited with focusing national attention on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and other more strictly gay-related issues through his writing in The San Francisco Chronicle and his book-length study, And the Band Played On (1987), a history of America's response to the AIDS epidemic. Both this study and Shilts's Conduct Unbecoming (1993) are considered highly influential documents in the movement to promote equal rights for gays and lesbians. Cleve Jones, founder of the Names Project that produced...
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John Innes Mackintosh Stewart September 30, 1906–November 12, 1994 British novelist, short story writer, critic, and educator
A prolific and popular author of sophisticated mystery novels, J. I. M. Stewart was also respected for his chronicles of the erudite social milieu of Oxford University, where he was a English professor for many years. Among his most notable works are his "A Staircase in Surrey" quintet, which presents an endearing autobiographical portrait of his eccentric and creative associates at Oxford, and a series of mysteries featuring the resourceful and learned Inspector Sir John Appleby. In addition to his highly popular autobiographical and mystery novels, Stewart was a...
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Julian Gustave Symons May 30, 1912–November 19, 1994 English novelist, short story writer, poet, editor, historian, critic, biographer, and radio and television writer
Well regarded as a poet, critic, and biographer, Symons is best known as the author of several highly praised crime novels, including The Color of Murder (1957), The Progress of a Crime (1960), and The Man Who Killed Himself (1967). Born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in London, Symons wrote romantic, Trotskyite poetry before World War II. After serving in the British army, he worked in advertising and then reviewed books for the Manchester Evening News. The publication of his first crime novel,...
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Mary TallMountain 1918–September 2, 1994 American poet, essayist, and short story writer
A Native American writer of Russian and Athabascan descent, TallMountain is best known for her poetry collection There Is No Word for Goodbye (1981), winner of a 1982–83 Pushcart Prize, and her The Light on the Tent Wall: A Bridging (1990), a volume of essays, poems, and short stories. Her works incorporate her interest in Christian and Native spirituality, imagery and symbols drawn from her Athabascan heritage and childhood in rural Alaska, and her belief in humanity's need to remember the past and commune with the natural world. She is also the author of the verse collection A Quick...
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Mai Elisabeth Zetterling May 24, 1925–March 15, 1994 Swedish actress, film director, screenwriter, novelist, autobiographer, short story writer, and author of children's literature
Internationally acclaimed for her acting in such films as Alf Sjoberg's Hets (1947; Torment) and, most recently, Nicholas Roeg's The Witches (1990), Zetterling was also a highly accomplished filmmaker and author. Beginning in the 1960s, she made several documentaries dealing with northern European political and social issues. Her first fiction film, the fifteen-minute antiwar movie The War Game (1963), won the Gold Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. As a director of feature films,...
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Obituaries (Vol. 91)
Kingsley William Amis April 16, 1922–October 22, 1995 English novelist, poet, critic, essayist, nonfiction writer, short story writer, and journalist
Because of his acerbic wit and iconoclastic attitude toward many aspects of modern society, Amis influenced and became identified with the post-World War II group of working-class British writers known as the "Angry Young Men." Jim Dixon, the disgruntled hero of Amis's first novel Lucky Jim (1954), became for many readers a symbol of rebellion against the conservative establishment. As his career progressed, however, Amis began to shock liberal admirers with his increasingly reactionary social and political observations. Although the object of his satirical comedy remained social manners and mores, in particular cultural snobbishness, in his later period Amis focused his pessimistic yet comic scrutiny on many modern trends. His intense anti-feminist rhetoric in Stanley and the Women (1984) offended many English critics and made American publishers reluctant to distribute the novel. "You can't make nasty remarks, or humorous or critical remarks, about a group without seeming to be attacking it," Amis complained in a 1986 interview. "Look at the things I'm supposed to have attacked: universities, Americans, women, young people, old people…. I mean, you wouldn't bother to be critical about something which you didn't like to start with." His other writings include Take a Girl Like You (1960), New Maps of Hell (1961), The Green Man (1969), Jake's Thing (1978), Memoirs (1991), and You Can't Do Both (1994). [For further information on Amis's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 40, and 44.]
Toni Cade Bambara March 25, 1939–December 9, 1995 American short story writer, novelist, scriptwriter, editor, and author of children's books
Lauded for her insightful depictions of African-American life, Bambara focused on contemporary political, racial, and feminist issues in her writing. Initially recognized for her short fiction, she later garnered critical acclaim for her work in other literary genres and other media. Beverly Guy-Sheftall stated that Bambara's "particular vision—as a teacher, writer, mother, world traveler, social critic, community worker, and humanist—can provide alternative ways perhaps of viewing certain aspects of [African-American] culture." Gorilla, My Love (1972), Bambara's most widely-read volume, collects short stories she wrote between 1959 and 1970. Focusing largely on the developmental experiences of young people, Gorilla, My Love includes the popular and often-anthologized tales "Raymond's Run" and the title story. In a 1979 interview with Sheftall, Bambara explained her preference for short stories: "I prefer the short story genre because it's quick, it makes a modest appeal for attention, it can creep up on you on your blind side." Eleanor Traylor, chairperson of the English department at Howard University, described Bambara as "quite skilled and adept in the use of language as an unmasking element as well as a revealing element. Her allusions are ancient, drawn from the entire ancient world—Greece, Africa, Asia and from the Native American and African American heritage." [For further information on Bambara's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 19 and 88.]
Brigid Antonia Brophy June 12, 1929–August 7, 1995 Anglo-Irish novelist, critic, essayist, journalist, short story writer, and dramatist
With her first novel, Hackenfeller's Ape (1953), Brophy won praise for her wit and creative use of language. The novel depicts a scientist whose attempts to civilize an ape result in problems both for himself and the ape. Her novel Flesh (1962) examines eccentricities of human behavior by depicting the transformation of an introverted young man into a hedonist. These novels, along with The Snow Ball (1964), a comedy of manners that parallels themes in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, established Brophy as a critic of middle-class morality and hypocrisy. Like George Bernard Shaw, whom she once acknowledged as a major influence, Brophy wrote social criticism with the moral intent of promoting a better world. Brophy's style has been compared with the satirical elegance of Ronald Firbank, who was the subject of Brophy's critical biography, The Prancing Novelist (1973). The work that generated the most critical commentary, however, was Fifty Works of English and American Literature We Could Do Without (1967), in which she collaborated with her husband, art historian Michael Levey, and Charles Osborne of London Magazine. While critics agreed that a few of the classics "debunked" in the study were unworthy of the high literary status they enjoyed, they also derided the trio's reliance on facetious analysis based on subjective opinion. Brophy's other works include The Finishing Touch (1963), Palace without Chairs: A Baroque Novel (1978), A Guide to Public Lending Right (1983), and Baroque 'n' Roll, and Other Essays (1987). [For further information on Brophy's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 6, 11, and 29.]
Emil M. Cioran April 8, 1911–June 20, 1995 Rumanian-born philosopher and essayist
Considered a master of the personal, unsystematic philosophical discourse exemplified in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cioran posited a comprehensively pessimistic view of existence and was particularly censorious of Western civilization. Primarily an essayist and aphorist, he sought to subvert conventional thought on such topics as alienation, consciousness, history, language, literature, religion, and death. In Précis de décomposition (1949; A Short History of Decay) he suggested that Western society is in irrevocable decline, its decay abetted by religion—or any cause—that inflames passions which inspire people to persecute dissenters or start wars. La tentation d'exister (1956; The Temptation to Exist) continues his exploration of the downfall of societies and includes commentaries on such topics as mystics, exile, and the history of the Jewish people. Cioran surveyed political regimes throughout history in Histoire et utopie (1960; History and Utopia) and concluded that all forms of government are fatally flawed. Civilization, he maintained, has hastened ruin by dissipating humanity's violent instincts, and therefore its vitality. Critic Daniel Stern remarked: "[Cioran] is the creator of a curving pessimism so profound and ironic as to almost meet a serious optimism at the other end of its arc. His aphorisms are lucid medicines that have no intent to cure. Thus, pure …, they are valuable remedies for the mind." [For further information on Cioran's life and career, see CLC, Volume 64.]
Donald Alfred Davie July 17, 1922–September 18, 1995 English poet, critic, editor, and translator
Davie was well respected for both his creative and his critical contributions to contemporary literature. His belief that the poet "is responsible to the community in which he writes for purifying and correcting the spoken language" is evidenced by the classical formalism of his first volume of poetry, The Brides of Reason (1955), and is the focus of his first critical work, The Purity of Diction in English Verse (1952). In The Purity of Diction, Davie argues for a return to the prose-like syntax, formal structures, and conservative metaphors of the eighteenth-century Augustan poets. In the 1950s Davie was associated with the Movement, a group of poets including Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, and Thom Gunn who believed in the importance of these qualities. In contrast to English poets of the 1940s who were influenced by imagism and symbolism, the Movement poets emphasized restrained language, traditional syntax, and the moral and social implications of poetic content. Describing the appeal of Davie's poetry, critic John Lucas explained that "Davie is very readable, perhaps because his literary, donnish qualities compel him to take the reader seriously, so that although you often feel talked at you never feel talked down to." Davie's editor Michael Schmidt said, "He will be remembered as a man who stood up for poetry at a time when it needed defending." Davie's notable collections include Essex Poems (1969), In the Stopping Train (1977), and To Scorch or Freeze (1988). [For further information on Davie's life and career, see CLC, Volume 5, 8, 10, and 31.]
Michael Ende November 12, 1929–August 28, 1995 German novelist, screenwriter, film critic, and actor
Best known for his children's fiction, Ende was the author of the international best seller The Neverending Story, first published in 1979 and filmed in 1984. He took up writing in the late 1950s after failing to make a career of acting, and produced his first children's book, the award-winning Jim Knopf and Lukas the Locomotive Engineer, in 1960. Ende produced The Neverending Story while living in self-imposed exile near Rome. While serving as an advisor during the filming of the book, he became displeased with the adaptation and divorced himself from the project. [For further information on Ende's life and career, see CLC, Volume 31.]
Gavin Ewart February 4, 1916–October 23, 1995 English poet and editor
Ewart was known as a skilled writer of light verse. He began writing poetry while a student at Wellington College and published his first book, Poems and Songs, in 1939. After serving in England's Royal Artillery in World War II, he did not produce another work until Londoners in 1964. From then on he maintained a steady output, producing work often described as technically masterful. His major poems are collected in The Gavin Ewart Show: Selected Poems, 1939–1985 and Collected Poems: 1980–1990. [For further information on Ewart's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 13 and 46.]
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Walter Braden Finney October 2, 1911(?)–November 16, 1995 American novelist
Finney, who published under the name Jack Finney, is best known for his second novel, The Body Snatchers, which was published in 1955 and served as basis for the classic science fiction film The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Time and Again (1970), a time-travel thriller, also proved widely successful; its sequel, From Time to Time (1995), appeared shortly before Finney's death. Time and Again was also adapted for film, as were a number of Finney's other works, including Five against the House (1954), Assault on a Queen (1959), and Good Neighbor Sam (1963)....
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Charles Gordone October 12, 1925–November 17, 1995 American dramatist, actor, and director
Gordone's second produced play, No Place to Be Somebody (1970), won the Pulitzer Prize, making him the first African-American author to be so honored. The play generated much critical and popular attention for its polemical treatment of racial issues. A lifelong social and political activist, Gordone continued to write and direct plays and later taught English and theater at Texas A&M University. No Place to Be Somebody remains his best-known and most influential work. [For further information on Gordone's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 1 and 4.]
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Jane Kenyon May 23, 1947–April 23, 1995 American poet
Kenyon was the poet laureate of New Hampshire, where she had lived on a farm for the past two decades. Her poems often address such themes as domesticity, the rhythms of rural life, suffering, mental illness, and spirituality. Critics have described her work, which ranges from short narratives to meditations, as melancholic and introspective. Her works include: From Room to Room (1978), The Little Boat (1986), Let Evening Come (1990), and Constance (1993).
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Howard Koch December 12, 1901–August 17, 1995 American screenwriter, radio writer, playwright and memoirist
Best known for his work as co-writer of the screenplay to the film Casablanca (1942), Howard Koch also wrote the radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's classic The War of the Worlds (1898) which caused a nationwide panic when broadcast by Orson Welles in 1938. After graduating from Columbia University, Koch began working as a lawyer, writing stage plays in his spare time. By the early 1930s he moved to radio, writing for Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater of the Air. In the 1940s Koch began writing for films, joining Warner Bros. to work on such films as The Letter...
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Andrew Lytle December 26, 1902–December 12, 1995 American novelist, essayist, and magazine editor
One of the founding members of the literary group known as the Agrarians, Andrew Lytle was a novelist whose best known works include The Long Night (1936), At the Moon's Inn (1941), A Name for Evil (1947), and The Velvet Horn (1957). Lytle was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a city founded by his ancestors, and attended Vanderbilt University, Oxford University, and Yale's School of Drama. As a struggling young writer, Lytle supported himself by acting in New York. In 1930 he contributed an essay on the small farm to the anthology I'll Take My Stand. The book...
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Louis Malle October 30, 1932–November 23, 1995 French film director and screenwriter
Louis Malle was among the most prominent and successful directors to emerge from the so-called "New Wave" of French cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His work is characterized by the combination of apparently dissimilar impulses: one toward provocation and the disturbance of the audience—which he tried to achieve by tackling such controversial themes as child prostitution, incest, suicide, and collaboration with the Nazis—and one toward romance and nostalgia for the lost innocence of childhood. Among his best known films are The Lovers (1958), Le feu follet (1963), Le souffle au...
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Vladimir Yemelyanovich Maximov December 9, 1930–March 26, 1995 Russian short story writer, novelist, playwright, and journalist
A leading Russian journalist and dissident during the late Soviet era, Maximov began his writing career in 1961 with a literary anthology that included the short story "Man Is Alive," a work that was successfully adapted for the stage. In 1968, while working as a journalist on the Soviet literary review Oktyabr, he resigned in protest over the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and was expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union and stripped of his citizenship in 1975. After moving to Paris, Maximov founded Continent, a Russian literary review that published...
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Edith Pargeter September 20, 1913–October 15, 1995 English novelist, short story writer, travel writer, and translator
A prolific writer in a variety of genres, Pargeter achieved her greatest popularity with the medieval mystery novels she wrote under the pseudonym Ellis Peters. These mysteries feature the character Brother Cadfael, a twelfth-century Benedictine monk and former worldly layman who uses his secular experience, great intellect, and uncanny powers of observation to rescue young lovers who have become enmeshed in crimes at Shrewsbury Abbey. Set in her home town in western England, the Cadfael stories—which began in 1977 with A Morbid Taste for Bones and ended, some...
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John Patrick May 17, 1905–November 7, 1995 American playwright and screenwriter
Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning American playwright of Teahouse of the August Moon (1953), Patrick authored more than 1000 dramas for NBC Radio during the 1930s and more than 30 stage plays, including the popular Curious Savage (1950), Hasty Heart (1945), and the 1969 comedy Love Is a Time of Day. As a Hollywood screenwriter his credits include the screen adaptation of Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1955), High Society (1956), which is the musical adaptation of Philip Barry's The...
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Donald Eugene Pendleton December 12, 1927–October 23, 1995 American novelist
Pendleton's The Executioner: War Against the Mafia (1969) became the first of 38 novels in the "Executioner" series, virtually inventing the genre of the modern action-adventure novel. The main character, Mack Boland, went on to become the protagonist of over 150 more novels written by a variety of authors. Pendleton also created two detective series; one followed the exploits of the psychic detective Ashton Ford, while the other followed Joe Copp, a private detective. Writing under the pseudonyms Stephan Gregory and Dan Britain, Pendleton also published The Sex Goddess (1967), Religion and the Sexual...
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Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa October 10, 1941–November 10, 1995 Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of children's books
Saro-Wiwa is best known for his acute, often humorous, satires of Nigerian life in which he attacks such social ills as corruption, inefficiency, materialism, and the lack of rights for minorities. One of his most popular works was the television soap opera Basi & Co., which Saro-Wiwa both wrote and produced. The series concerns a group of lazy young men in Lagos who spend their time devising schemes for becoming rich. Saro-Wiwa also wrote a series of books, known as "The Adventures of Mr. B.," based on the characters from the...
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Obituaries (Vol. 99)
Quentin Bell August 19, 1910–December 16, 1996 British author, artist, critic, and biographer
Bell is best known as the biographer of his aunt, Virginia Woolf. The son of Woolf's older sister, Vanessa Bell, and Clive Bell, his childhood was influenced by the writers and artists who made up the Bloomsbury Group, including Woolf., E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, and Vita Sackville-West. Upon its publication in 1972, Bell's Virginia Woolf: A Biography became a definitive source among Woolf scholars and established Bell as a careful, fair-minded writer. As was the case with the other Bloomsbury personalities, Bell was accomplished in a number of fields. In addition to nonfiction writing, which included studies of fashion, art, and design, Bell wrote a novel, The Brandon Papers (1985), and a memoir, Bloomsbury Recalled (1996). Bell was a lecturer in art education at King's College and professor of fine art at Oxford and the University of Leeds, and also served as chair of history and theory of art at the University of Sussex.
Erma Bombeck February 21, 1927–April 22, 1996 American journalist and humorist
By finding humor in life's most annoying situations, Bombeck became one of America's most popular writers. Her syndicated column, "At Wit's End," which debuted in 1965, was a lighthearted look at the challenges of family life and led to more than a dozen best-selling books of her collected essays, including At Wit's End (1967), The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank (1976), If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? (1978), Family: The Ties That Bind … And Gag! (1987), and When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home (1991). Bombeck donated her $1.5 million advance fee and all proceeds from I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise (1989), in which children with cancer and their families recount their stories, to cancer research; she received the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor in 1990. Bombeck had lived with polycystic kidney disease since age 20; she died of complications after a kidney transplant.
Joseph Erodsky May 24, 1940–January 28, 1996 Russian-bom American poet, author, and educator
Brodsky's poetry earned him the wrath of the government in his native Russia and the love of critics, peers, and readers in his adopted America. After enduring ten years of persecution, a trial, and sentencing to an Arctic labor camp for his poetry, deemed inflammatory by the Russian government, Brodsky was exiled and emigrated to the United States in 1972. Settling in Michigan with the help of W. H. Auden, Brodsky began his academic career as poet-in-residence at the University of Michigan. He became a U.S. citizen in 1977. Brodsky's writings brought him considerable acclaim, including the 1981 MacArthur Award, the 1986 National Book Critics Circle Award (for the 1984 memoir Less Than One), and the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature. He became the first foreign-born person to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate in 1991. Among his best-known works are the poetry collections A Part of Speech (1977) and To Urania (1988), and Less Than One. His most recent publications included a play, Marbles (1989), and a book of prose, Watermark (1992). For the last fifteen years of his life, Brodsky was Andrew Mellon Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College. Though he traveled widely, Brodsky never returned to Russia. [For further information on Brodsky's life and career, see CLC, Volumes 4, 6, 13, 36, and 50.]
Georges Duby October 7, 1919–December 2, 1996 French historian, author, and editor
Duby was a medievalist noted for his ability to bring history to life. "A fine and prolific writer, in France he did more than almost anyone else to stimulate popular interest in history," a London Times obituarist noted. Among his writings were Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West (1962), The Age of the Cathedrals: Art and Society 980-1420 (1976), and what many consider his finest work, Le dimanche de Bouvines (1973), translated as The Legend of Bouvines (1990).
Hannah Green 1927–October 16, 1996 American novelist and educator
Green published just one novel in her lifetime, but it was, according to Robert McG. Thomas Jr., "one slender novel of such delicately distilled perfection that she could hardly bring herself to compose another." The Dead of the House met with widespread critical acclaim upon its initial publication in 1972 and again when it was reissued in 1996. Critics lauded Green's painstaking attention to the craft of fiction writing, noting that the "new author" was a forty-six-year-old creative writing teacher who had studied with Vladimir Nabokov and Wallace Stegner and had worked on The Dead of the House for close to twenty years. Green began a second book in 1971 and spent twenty-five years perfecting it. Golden Spark, Little Saint: My Book of the Hours of Saint Foy, a fact-and-fiction account of the life of a twelve-year-old French girl betrayed by her father and martyred when she refused to renounce her faith, is scheduled to be published by Random House next year. [For further information on Green's life and career, see CLC, Volume 3.]
Eugene "Guy" Izzi 1953(?)–December 7, 1996 American mystery writer
The death of "Guy" Izzi, a crime writer whose own tough upbringing in a steel-mill neighborhood on Chicago's South Side provided much of the gritty background for his novels, was officially ruled a suicide but remains a mystery to many. Izzi was found hanging outside the window of his locked fourteenth-floor office in Chicago, an apparent suicide, but he was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying chemical defense spray and brass knuckles in his pocket, and his face and body were bruised, prompting some to suspect murder. Izzi's friends and family said he had no reason to kill himself—he had a wife and children and a new book set for publication—and also said that Izzi had recently received threats from a militia group angered by his undercover investigation of their operations. A third theory, that the author's death was accidental, was prompted by investigators' discovery at the scene of several computer diskettes containing an unfinished novel which ends with the protagonist, a Chicago mystery writer, suffering an attack by militia members who tie a noose around his neck, attach the rope to a metal desk, and throw him from his office window. The story ends, however, with the writer pulling himself back up the rope and killing his attackers. The similarities of the story and Izzi's death prompted some to speculate that the author may have been attempting to simulate the action in the story in an effort to add realism to his writing. Izzi's novels include Bad Guys and Eighth Victim (1988), The Booster and King of the Hustlers (1989), Invasions and Prime Roll (1990), Tribal Secrets (1992), and Tony's Justice (1993). A Matter of Honor: A Novel of Chicago, Izzi's last work, was published May 1, 1997.
Walter Kerr July 8, 1913–October 9, 1996 American journalist, author, playwright, and drama critic
Respected for his vivid, involving accounts of theatrical productions, Kerr earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for the body of his critical work. Kerr received bachelor's and master's degrees in speech from Northwestern University, then joined the faculty of Washington, D.C.'s Catholic University, where he directed, wrote, and adapted plays for student productions, some of which reached professional theaters and even Broadway. Having developed Catholic University's drama program into what was described in Time magazine as "the finest nonprofessional theater in the country," Kerr began his...
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Paul Henry Oehser 1904–December 4, 1996 American writer, editor, and conservationist
Oehser was affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, serving in the editorial division from the early 1930s until his retirement as editor in chief in 1962. Before joining the Smithsonian staff, he had worked as a scientific editor for the Bureau of Biological Survey in the U.S. Agriculture Department. After his retirement, Oehser edited scientific reports for the National Geographic Society until 1975. Oehser was a member of a number of conservationist groups, and served on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society. Among his writings were the history books Sons of Science and The Smithsonian...
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Margret Rey May, 1906–December 21, 1996 German-born American children's author and illustrator
Rey and her husband, H. A. Rey, were the creators of "Curious George," the much-loved, mischievous monkey of children's stories. Both Reys were artists, but for the Curious George books she wrote the stories and he created the illustrations. The couple wrote the first Curious George adventure in the 1930s while living in Paris; they rode bicycles out of town to escape the German occupation in 1940, carrying the unsold manuscript with them. After making their way to New York, the Reys sold Curious George to Houghton Mifflin, which published it in 1941. The pair went on to pen six more original...
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Carl Sagan November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996 American physicist, astronomer, and author
An astronomer who brought the universe's "billions and billions" of stars into the nation's living rooms with the television series Cosmos in 1980, Sagan became a best-selling and Pulitzer Prizewinning author and a popular television personality. Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, remarked, "Carl Sagan, more than any contemporary scientist I can think of, knew what it takes to stir passion within the public when it comes to the wonder and importance of science." Among Sagan's research topics were the search for life elsewhere in the universe, the origin of life on Earth, and...
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George Starbuck June 15, 1931–August 15, 1996 American poet and educator
Once described as the "thinking man's Ogden Nash," Starbuck was known for poems that "explored profound themes with such a dazzling display of pun, parody and pyrotechnic wit that critics seemed too busy laughing out loud to take him seriously," Robert McG. Thomas Jr. noted. Starbuck began college at age 16 intending to become a mathematician, but soon turned to poetry writing. He spent years at Cal Tech, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and Harvard, where he studied with Archibald MacLeish and Robert Lowell and associated with fellow students Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, but never...
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Diana Trilling July 21, 1905–October 23, 1996 American essayist, editor, and literary critic
A respected author, editor, and critic in her own right, Trilling fought to build a reputation for herself apart from that of her husband, Lionel Trilling, one of the century's leading literary critics and authors. She often joked that the headline of her obituary would read, "Diana Trilling Dies at 150. Widow of Distinguished Professor and Literary Critic Lionel Trilling," Trilling was hired as the Nation's book reviewer on the recommendation of her husband; there she began the work that would lead to five books and three collections of essays and reviews, while gaining respect among readers and...
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Laurens van der Post December 13, 1906–December 15, 1996 South African poet, linguist, philosopher, anthropologist, and explorer
In a life filled with a variety of experiences and accomplishments, Van der Post grew up in South Africa, survived for over three years in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II, later attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel and served on the staff of Lord Mountbatten, and became a trusted advisor to Britain's Prince Charles and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who knighted him in 1981. At age 21, he began writing what would be the first anti-apartheid novel ever published, In a Province (1934); in later writings he sought to prevent the...
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