John D. MacDonald

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Story on Tales from the Darkside


7/24/1916, Sharon, Pennsylvania, USA



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  • Biography
  • John D. MacDonald was an American writer, best known for his mystery series starring Travis McGee. He originally planned to go into business, studying at the Wharton School and earning an MBA from Syracuse. At Syracuse, he met his wife, Dorothy Prentiss. The two married in 1937. MacDonald's writing career began shortly after his service during World War II, when he worked as a pulp writer. In the first four months after his discharge, he completely concentrated on writing short stories, generating some 800,000 words and losing 20 pounds while typing during 14-hour daily sessions seven days a week. He wrote detective, western and science fiction stories, and made the transition to novels seamlessly. His protagonists were often intelligent and introspective men, sometimes with a hard cynical streak. Travis McGee, the "salvage consultant" and "knight in rusting armor," was all of that. He first appeared in the 1964 novel The Deep Blue Good-by and was last seen in The Lonely Silver Rain in 1985. All titles in the 21-volume series include a color, and the novels usually feature an ever-changing array of female companions, plus an appearance by a sidekick known only as "Meyer," a retired economist. McGee lived on his 52-foot houseboat Busted Flush, named for the poker hand that started the run of luck in which he won her. His work has been cited as an influence on many writers, including Carl Hiassen.moreless



    Birth Place:

    Sharon, Pennsylvania, USA

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (9)

    • John D. MacDonald: When you see the ugliness behind the tears of another person, it makes you take a closer look at your own.

    • John D. MacDonald: Way over half the murders committed in this country are by close friends or relatives of the deceased. A gun makes a loud and satisfying noise in a moment of passion and requires no agility and very little strength. How many murders wouldn't happen, if they all had to use hammers and knives?

    • John D. MacDonald: Up with life. Stamp out all small and large indignities. Leave everyone alone to make it without pressure. Down with hurting. Lower the standard of living. Do without plastics. Smash the servo-mechanisms. Stop grabbing. Snuff the breeze and hug the kids. Love all love. Hate all hate.

    • John D. MacDonald: The only thing that prisons demonstrably cure is heterosexuality.

    • John D. MacDonald: The only thing in the world worth a damn is the strange, touching, pathetic, awesome nobility of the individual human spirit.

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    Trivia (13)

    • In Stephen King's novel 'Salem's Lot, a character tells Ben Mears, the novelist hero: "You ought to write books with better sense. Like the guy who writes those Travis McGee stories. A man can sink his teeth into one of those."

    • John D. MacDonald won the French Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in 1964 and the American Book Award in 1980.

    • John D. MacDonald received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Short Story in 1955.

    • In 1983, publisher Avon Books had to recall 60,000 copies of a novel that its author acknowledged was "modeled" on John D. MacDonald's 1974 McGee novel, The Dreadful Lemon Sky. Author Dimitri Gat admitted he stole the story for his novel Nevsky's Demon from the McGee novel.

    • In its 1985 review of The Lonely Silver Rain, the New York Times wrote, "Mr. MacDonald has proved that one need not be sloppy, lazy, or utterly commercial in maintaining the flavor of the good old stuff. Formula fiction keeps the reader coming back for more - and no one does it better, or with more integrity or respect for his audience, than Mr. MacDonald."

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