Re: RARA-AVIS: Donald Westlake, An Appreciation

From: joesmartino (
Date: 03 Jan 2009

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    What a wonderful thread and appreciation.

    I owe Westlake for steering me into a career in films. It was after I saw THE HOT ROCK as a pre-teen. I noticed it was based on a book so I went to the local library and took out The Fugitive Pigeon and The Busy Body. It was the first time I laughed out loud while reading a book, and after each book was done I would say, "This would make a great movie!". Needless to say, I was hooked.

    I had the great opportunity of meeting and working with Don on serveal occasions. Anytime a new Westlake book appeared on the desk of his agent Gary Salt, Gary would give me a 72 hour head start to buy/set up the project before he sent the manuscript out to the town. I'll never forget the day Comeback appeared on Gary's desk. He called me all giddy because Don resurrected Parker and didn't tell anyone. The tradition continued when Gary passed and Stephen Moore took over as Don's LA agent.

    In LA I was known as the Westlake expert, and would receive calls from producers and occasionally his agents - looking for copies of his hard to find books (which I had extra copies of in paperback and well as hardcover). I even supplied Don with a DVD of the Godard film MADE IN AMERICA when he blocked from ever being shown because he was never paid for the underlying rights. In an ironic twist Don was finally given North America rights to the film as was to be hosting a special screening of it at Film Forum in the coming weeks.

    Don could write any genre and do it with great ease. I will miss him.

    BTW another name Don wrote under was John Taylor for a paperback bio of Elizabeth Taylor. In my signed copy under "about the author" Don wrote, "Lies, it's all lies!"



    --- In, DJ-Anonyme@... wrote:
    > Maybe this is an opportunity to compile as complete a list as
    > of Westlake's pseudonyms. These are ones I know of:
    > Donald E Westlake, of course
    > Richard Stark (Parker series)
    > Tucker Coe (Mitch Tobin series)
    > Curt Clark (Anarchaos and some SF stories)
    > Sam Holt (Sam Holt)
    > Thomas J Culver (Ex Officio, Power Play in paperback)
    > J. Morgan Cunningham (Comfort Station)
    > Carmichael, but I forget the first name/initial
    > And those on what he called "euphemism novels" (because at that
    time you
    > couldn't come right out and say certain things in books):
    > Edwin West
    > Alan Marshall
    > And I'm sure I'm missing a few others he used there
    > Although there's debate over whether or not he was responsible for
    > of the books under those names or some were house names he merely
    > contributed to.
    > So what others am I missing?
    > Mark

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