July 26, 2005 by

Eddie Bunker


Categories: Actors, Criminals, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

Edward Bunker Jr., a career criminal and author, died on July 19 from complications of surgery. He was 71.
The Hollywood, Calif., native was the son of stagehand Edward Bunker Sr., and dancer/chorus girl Sarah Bunker. A born troublemaker, Eddie was only three years old when he destroyed a neighbor’s incinerator with a claw hammer. The following year, he set fire to his family’s garage.
Bunker spent the rest of his childhood attending reform schools and running away from foster homes. By the time he reached his teens, Bunker had become an accomplished thief, drug dealer and thug. He would eventually serve up to 18 years behind bars for various crimes, such as extortion, assault, forgery and armed robbery.
Using his experiences as the backdrop for fiction, Bunker began writing hard-boiled crime novels in prison. He sold his blood to pay for postage and submitted his manuscripts to dozens of magazines and publishers. When his first novel, “No Beast So Fierce,” was released in 1973, Bunker decided to reenter mainstream society as a professional writer. He was paroled two years later.
Over the next three decades, Bunker wrote screenplays (“Straight Time,” “Animal Factory”) and books (“Little Boy Blue,” “Dog Eat Dog” and “Education of a Felon”), and befriended authors William Styron and James Ellroy. He received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay “Runaway Train,” which was based on a story by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and won a Macallan Dagger Prize for his autobiography, “Mr. Blue: Memoirs of a Renegade.”
Bunker also acted in more than 20 movies, including “The Running Man,” “Tango and Cash” and “The Longest Yard.” In Quentin Tarantino’s violent debut, “Reservoir Dogs,” he played the character Mr. Blue.

3 Responses to Eddie Bunker

  1. Lori

    So goes another great writer-Eddie Bunker-Little Boy Blue-Mr Blue. He will be sorely missed. I first learned of him as Jonah, the friend and fellow prison mate to Manny (Jon Voigt) in Runaway Train, though his role was short, somehow he prevailed throughout the movie. I learned, several years later, that indeed he did, as he helped write the screenplay. As Resevoir Dogs unfolded I recognized that unforgettable face–Mr. Blue was the great Jonah. Ok, now I had to learn more. That’s when I discovered he was a writer, No Beast So Fearce was the first book I read, and what a novel. I was hooked, I soon read every book I could get my hands on and fell more and more in love with his hard pounding fiction. My favorite writers were Hubert Selby Jr, Charles Bukowski, Harrey Crews and Jack London, Eddie Bunker was the perfect addition. He will live on through his books and great cameos. I will miss him, and for those who have yet to discover his books/movies-you are in for a treat.

  2. gordy

    i was shocked to discover Eddies death today while trawling the net.What a loss to people like myself who wouldn’t have read as much as i have if not for him.If you haven’t read one of his books,do it now! You won’t regret it.

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