Re: RARA-AVIS: Donald E. Westlake, Mystery Writer, Is Dead at 75 (NYT obituary)

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 01 Jan 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Donald E. Westlake, Mystery Writer, Is Dead at 75 (NYT obituary)"

    This is a real shame. I was a great admirer of his Stark/Parker series, especially the first one, *The Hunter/Point Blank/Payback* (in all three titled versions).

    He was a great and prolific writer who will definitely be missed.

    All the Best-


    On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 2:09 PM, foxbrick <> wrote:

    > January 2, 2009
    > Donald E. Westlake, Mystery Writer, Is Dead at 75
    > By JENNIFER 8. LEE
    > Donald E. Westlake, a prolific, award-winning mystery novelist who
    > pounded out more than 100 books and five screenplays on manual
    > typewriters during his half-century career, died Wednesday night. He
    > was 75.
    > Mr. Westlake collapsed, apparently from a heart attack, as he headed
    > out to New Year's Eve dinner while on vacation in San Tancho,
    > Mexico, said his wife, Abigail Westlake.
    > Mr. Westlake, considered one of the most successful and versatile
    > mystery writers in the United States, has earned three Edgar Awards,
    > an Academy Award nomination for screenplay writing, and the elite
    > title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.
    > Since his first novel, "The Mercenaries," was published by Random
    > House in 1960, Mr. Westlake has written under his own name and
    > several pseudonyms, including Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt
    > and Edwin West. Despite the diversity of names, one shared feature
    > was that almost all his books were set in New York City, where he
    > was born.
    > He used many names in part to combat skepticism over his rapid rate
    > of writing books, which at some points reached four a year.
    > "In the beginning, people didn't want to publish more than one book
    > a year by the same author," said Susan Richman, his publicist at
    > Grand Central Publishing, his current publisher. In the later half
    > of his career, Mr. Westlake had narrowed himself to his own name and
    > Richard Stark, author of a dark series about a one-name criminal
    > named Parker.
    > The full panoply of all his books was a spectacle to behold, his
    > friends said. "We were in his library, this beautiful library
    > surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of titles, and I realize that
    > every single book was written by Donald Westlake, English language
    > and foreign language editions," said Laurence Kirschbaum, his agent.
    > Mr. Westlake's cinematic style of storytelling, along with his
    > carefully crafted plots and crisp dialogue, translated well to the
    > screen. More than 15 of his books were made into movies, some
    > multiple times. In addition, he himself wrote a number of
    > screenplays, including "The Grifters," which was nominated for an
    > Academy Award in 1991.
    > Donald Edwin Westlake was born to Lillian and Albert Westlake on
    > July 12, 1933, in Brooklyn, but raised in Yonkers and Albany. He
    > attended a number of colleges in New York State, but did not
    > graduate from any of them. He married his current wife, Abigail, in
    > 1979, and the couple made their home in Gallatin, N.Y. He was
    > previously married to Nedra Henderson and Sandra Kalb. He is
    > survived by his wife; his four sons by his previous marriage, Sean
    > Westlake, Steven Westlake, Paul Westlake, Tod Westlake; two step-
    > daughters, Adrienne Adams and Katherine Adams; a step-son, Patrick
    > Adams; his sister, Virginia; and four grandchildren.
    > He was writing all the way till he passed away. His next novel, "Get
    > Real," is scheduled to be released in April 2009.

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