Categotry Archives: Writers/Editors

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Evan Hunter

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Categories: Education, Military, Writers/Editors

Evan Hunter, a bestselling author who sold more than 100 million books under his own name and the pseudonym Ed McBain, died on July 6 of cancer of the larynx. He was 78.
Born Salvatore Lombino, the native New Yorker was studying at the Cooper Union Art School when World War II interrupted his education. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and began to write while serving on a destroyer in the Pacific. Upon his return to the states, Lombino majored in English at Hunter College in New York. In 1952, he legally changed his name to Evan Hunter because he thought publishers would be less likely to accept books from an author with an Italian moniker.
To make ends meet, Hunter taught English classes at inner city high schools, sold lobsters to restaurants and worked as an editor for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, but he never stopped honing his writing skills. Under the names Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins and Richard Marsten, he wrote dozens of magazine stories. Once he had enough credits to his, well, many names, Hunter published his first novel, “The Blackboard Jungle.” The harrowing tale of big city school violence became a 1955 film starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier. Hunter later penned the second revision of the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, “The Birds.”
Starting in 1956, Hunter began writing as Ed McBain. Under this pen name, he pioneered the gritty, police procedural genre with his bestselling “87th Precinct” series. Over the course of 55 books (“Cop Hater,” “Jigsaw,” “Widows,” “Mischief,” “Money, Money, Money,” “Hark!”), McBain chronicled the cases of the station’s detective squad. His fast-paced novels were driven by dialogue and his realistic plotlines combined modern investigative techniques with sardonic humor. The final “Precinct” book, “Fiddlers,” will be released in September.
Up until he suffered a heart attack in the 1980s, Hunter wrote for eight hours a day in his Connecticut home. His talent and prolific nature earned him scores of fans and numerous writing awards. Hunter received the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement in 1986, and was the first American to win the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association in 1998.
In the essay, “Nature of the Beast,” his alter ego, McBain, made a contract with readers. “I know all the rules of mystery writing and I promise that I will observe them so long as they provide a novel that will keep you fascinated, intrigued and entertained. If they get in the way of that basic need, I’ll either bend the rules or break them, but I will never cheat the reader. Never,” he wrote. The author made several other declarations about his writing, but he ended the essay with a simple guarantee: “I promise to keep you awake all night. I promise to keep writing till the day I die. I will sign this contract in blood if you like.”
Listen to an Interview With Hunter
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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Gene Miller

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Categories: Writers/Editors

Gene Edward Miller, a former Miami Herald reporter and editor who won two Pulitzer Prizes, died on June 17 of cancer. He was 76.
Born in Evansville, Ind., Miller graduated from Indiana University and landed his first reporting job in 1950 at The Journal-Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind. After serving two years in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, he returned to journalism to write for The Wall Street Journal and The News Leader in Richmond, Va.
Miller joined the Miami Herald in 1957 and spent the next 48 years covering riots, airline crashes, presidents and hurricanes. He traveled to Birmingham and wrote about Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights work, to Ohio for the Kent State shooting and to San Francisco for the Patty Hearst kidnapping. In 1978, he was the first print journalist to enter Jonestown, Guyana, and cover the Jim Jones-led mass murder-suicide of 913 men, women and children. But Miller was best known for his crime reporting; his investigations led to the release of no less than four people wrongly convicted of murder.
Miller won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for writing about Mary Katherin Hampton and Joseph F. Shea — two people who were convicted of separate slayings they didn’t commit. Hampton was a teenager when she was sentenced to life in prison for two murders; however, during his research, Miller learned that she was actually hundreds of miles away when the killings took place. He obtained legal counsel for Hampton, and in 1966 the state of Louisiana released her. Shea was convicted of killing an airline reservation clerk in 1959. When Miller discovered new evidence in the case, a second trial was ordered. During that court proceeding, Shea was acquitted.
Miller received his second Pulitzer in 1976 for writing more than 130 articles about Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee. The black men were sentenced to die in the electric chair in 1963 for allegedly killing two gas station attendants in Port St. Joe, Fla. Both men proclaimed their innocence, but no one listened until Miller showed how the police beat confessions out of them. A third man eventually confessed to the slayings, and Gov. Reubin Askew freed Pitts and Lee in 1975.
Miller was an old-fashioned newspaperman, one who lamented the way publishers now cater to “customers” rather than readers. As an editor, he coached new reporters and honed the words of senior journalists. Miller taught his staff to be dogged investigators and to fill their stories with enlightening details. His editing skills helped Edna Buchanan and Sydney Freedberg win Pulitzers of their own in 1986 and 1991, respectively.
Miller retired from the Herald in 2001. The author of two books (“83 Hours Till Dawn” and “Invitation to a Lynching”), he also won the Heywood Broun Award, the National Headliners Award and the George Polk Award. In 2002, Miller was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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Allison Crews

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Categories: Writers/Editors

Allison Noelle Crews, a freelance writer and the Web editor behind Girl-Mom.com, died on June 11. Cause of death is under investigation. She was 22.

Born in Westminster, Calif., and raised in an evangelical Christian home, Crews became pregnant during her sophomore year in high school. After considering abortion and adoption, she decided to keep the child. At 15, Crews had a baby boy she named Cade. However, the condemnation she received for this decision inspired her to become an advocate for young mothers.

For nearly five years, Crews worked as the editor of Girl-Mom.com, a Website dedicated to empowering, educating and supporting “young mamas.” She encouraged these women to meet online and in person, and to share the trials and joys of parenting. The Website also offers suggestions on the best ways for teenagers to tell their parents about a pregnancy, tips on applying for government aid and basic information on the benefits of breastfeeding.

Named one of Top 30 Under 30 Activists for Choice by Choice USA in 2003, Crews attended pro-mom rallies and helped launch the National Day to Support Teen Parents (Oct. 11). Her essay, “When I Was Garbage,” was published in the 2001 anthology, “Breeder: Real-life Stories From the New Generation of Mothers.” She is survived by her son and her partner, Julie Cushing.

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Joe Grant

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Categories: Artists, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

jgrant.jpgJoe Grant, a pioneering Disney animator and writer, died on May 6 at the age of 96. He suffered a heart attack while working at his drawing board.
Grant was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles. He trained at the Chouinard Art Institute, then landed a job drawing caricatures for The Los Angeles Record. Walt Disney spotted Grant’s work in the newspaper and hired him to freelance on the animated short “Mickey’s Gala Premiere.”
Grant was brought on staff full-time a few years later. Over the next decade, he worked on “Alice in Wonderland” and designed the queen-witch character in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Disney eventually promoted Grant to head of the Character Model Department, which served as a think tank for future animated projects.
During World War II, Grant and animator Dick Huemer created gags and designs for many of Disney’s patriotic-themed cartoons, such as “Reason and Emotion,” “Education for Death” and the Academy Award-winning “Der Fuehrer’s Face.” Grant also co-wrote “Dumbo” with Huemer, and conceived “Lady and the Tramp” with his wife, Jennie. She died in 1991.
When the Character Model Department disbanded in 1949, Grant opened a ceramics studio (Opechee Designs) and a greeting card company (Castle Ltd.). He returned to Disney in 1989 to work on “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Pocahontas” and “Mulan.” The only Disney artist and story creator to work on the original “Fantasia” in 1940, and its sequel, “Fantasia 2000,” he also contributed to the 2004 Oscar-nominated short “Lorenzo.”
Grant was named an official Disney Legend in 1992. Four years later, his work was honored with a Ruben Award from the National Cartoonists Society. More than 70 of his caricatures appear in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian Institute.

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Bob Hunter

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Categories: Media, Writers/Editors

bhunter.jpgRobert Hunter, a founding member of Greenpeace, died on May 2 of prostate cancer. He was 64.
The Manitoba native wasn’t an apt pupil in school. Instead of doing his homework, he would draw or write novels. Hunter’s interest in more creative pursuits led him to drop out of high school and join the media. In the 1960s, he worked as a reporter for the Winnipeg Tribune, then became a popular counter-culture columnist for the Vancouver Sun.
Hunter always had an interest in environmental issues, but it wasn’t until 1971 that he switched from observer to activist mode. That year, he and a group of 11 friends sailed an 80-foot fishing boat from Vancouver to Alaska in an effort to stop the American military from conducting nuclear weapons testing on Amchitka in the Aleutian Islands. Their demonstration led to the cancellation of the testing program and the island’s transformation into a wildlife sanctuary.
In 1972, the crew joined forces again to form Greenpeace, an international environmental movement with more than 2.8 million members. As the organization’s first president, Hunter helped turn Greenpeace into the most powerful environmental lobby in the world. He dyed the white coats of baby harp seals to make them commercially worthless, stood between Russian harpoon hunters and their whale prey and coined the terms “eco-warrior” and “media mind bomb.” Time magazine even named him one of the 10 “eco-heroes” of the 20th century.
Hunter returned to journalism in the late 1980s as an ecology reporter for City TV. He hosted the popular morning show “Papercuts” in his bathrobe, and entertained audiences by reading newspaper headlines and commenting on the stories. Hunter also wrote more than a dozen books, penned scripts for the syndicated TV series “The Beachcombers,” and made several documentaries, including one about his fight with prostate cancer. For his environmental and journalistic efforts, Hunter won five Western Magazine Awards, a CanPro Award and the Canadian Environmental Award.
Listen to an Interview With the CBC

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