RARA-AVIS: RE:Cornell Woolrich

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@adelphia.net)
Date: 11 Dec 2003

  Richard Moore wrote:

"I recall the many stories of Cornell Woolrich that I have enjoyed even knowing that the poor, weird old guy stayed in hotel rooms with his mother and rarely ventured forth to experience life. Yet at his best, some of that inner torture managed to get on the page and more than make up for his lack of real world experience."

The hermit-life in the hotel with mom surely had its effect on Woolrich's writing, but he did have some world experience. As Francis Nevins writes in the intro to a new book of his
"uncollected stories," he grew up in Mexico with his father, observing revolutionary leaders capture and recapture the town. His hobby was collecting spent cartridges that he'd find in his courtyard. He was still an adolescent when he returned to New York to live with his mother, grandfather and aunt in the grandfather's home. He went to Columbia, worked for a while in Hollywood. After an ill-conceived (excuse the pun) marriage, he
"traveled extensively in Europe" with mom. He was never exactly Johnny Sunshine but, as I understand it, it was only after a career dry spell left him broke and depressed that he moved into the hotel with his mother.

Dick Lochte

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