Gregory Christopher Mcdonald was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, on February 15, 1937, the son of author Irving Thomas Mcdonald and painter Mae Haggarty McDonald. He attended private school in Massachusetts and, accepted to Harvard University at the age of sixteen, obtained a bachelor of arts degree in 1958. During college, Mcdonald created an international yacht troubleshooting enterprise and worked as a sailboat captain to help pay tuition. He also began writing his first novel. Following graduation, he was employed as a marine insurance underwriter (1959-1961) before serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps for a year. In 1963, the year he began teaching, Mcdonald married Susan Aiken (they divorced in 1990), and she bore two sons, Christopher Gregory and Douglas Gregory.
In 1964, Mcdonald was hired as critic-at-large columnist and arts and humanities editor for the Boston Globe—in which position he remained for nearly a decade—where he began to develop a fictional character: a reporter who would become the author’s best-known protagonist, the irreverent Fletch. The same year, Mcdonald published his first novel, Running Scared (1964), a dark story of a college student who makes no effort to prevent a friend from committing suicide. Though the book received critical acclaim for believability, the subject matter was controversial and disturbing, and caused the author considerable difficulty in placing further manuscripts with...
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