Evan Hunter
Born Salvatore Albert Lombino October 15, 1926(1926-10-15)New York, New York
Died July 6, 2005(2005-07-06) (aged 78)Weston, Connecticut, U.S.
Pen name Ed McBain, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, Dean Hudson, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon, John Abbott
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter
Nationality American
Period 1951-2005
Genres Crime fiction, mystery fiction, science fiction
Spouse(s) Anita; 3 children

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Evan Hunter

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Evan Hunter in March 2001

Evan Hunter (October 15, 1926 – July 6, 2005) was an American author and screenwriter. Born Salvatore Albert Lombino, he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well-known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956.

Life

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Hunter was born and raised as Salvatore Lombino in New York City, living in East Harlem until the age of 12, at which point his family moved to the Bronx. He attended Olinville Junior High School, then Evander Childs High School, before winning an Art Students League scholarship. Later, he was admitted as an art student at Cooper Union. Lombino served in the Navy in World War II, writing several short stories while serving aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. However, none of these stories were published until after he had established himself as an author in the 1950s.

After the war, Lombino returned to New York and attended Hunter College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in English and Psychology, with minors in dramatics and education. He published a weekly column in the Hunter College newspaper as "S.A. Lombino". In 1981, Hunter was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame where he was honored for outstanding professional achievement.

While looking to start a career as a writer, Lombino took a variety of jobs, including 17 days as a teacher at Bronx Vocational High School in September 1950. This experience would later form the basis for his 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle.

In 1951, Lombino took a job as an Executive Editor for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, working with authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, P.G. Wodehouse, Lester del Rey, Poul Anderson, and Richard S. Prather, among others. He made his first professional short-story sale that same year, a science-fiction tale entitled "Welcome Martians", credited to S.A. Lombino.

Hunter died of laryngeal cancer in 2005 at the age of 78 in Weston, Connecticut. He had three sons. His son Richard Hunter, is a harmonica virtuoso. Another child, Mark Hunter, is a professor at INSEAD and the Institut français de Presse, and an award-winning investigative reporter and author. His eldest son, Ted, a painter, died in 2006.

Name change and pen names

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Soon after his initial sale, Lombino sold stories under the pen names "Evan Hunter" and "Hunt Collins". The name "Evan Hunter" is generally believed to have been derived from two schools he attended, Evander Childs High School and Hunter College, although the author himself would never confirm that. (He did confirm that the name "Hunt Collins" was derived from Hunter College.) Lombino legally changed his name to Evan Hunter in May 1952, after an editor told him that a novel he wrote would sell more copies if credited to "Evan Hunter" than it would if it were credited to "S.A. Lombino". Thereafter, he used the name Evan Hunter both personally and professionally.

As Evan Hunter, he gained fame with his 1954 novel The Blackboard Jungle, which dealt with juvenile crime and the New York City public school system. In 1955, the book was made into a movie. During this era, Hunter also wrote a great deal of genre fiction. He was advised by his agents that publishing too much fiction under the Hunter byline, or publishing any crime fiction as Evan Hunter, might weaken his literary reputation. As a consequence, during the 1950s Hunter used the pseudonyms Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, and Richard Marsten for much of his crime fiction. A prolific author in several genres, Hunter also published approximately two dozen science fiction stories and four SF novels bewtween 1951 and 1956 under the names S.A. Lombino, Evan Hunter, Richard Marsten, D.A. Addams and Ted Taine.

His most famous pseudonym, Ed McBain, debuted in 1956, with Cop Hater, the first novel in the 87th Precinct crime series. NBC ran a police drama also called 87th Precinct during the 1961–1962 season based on McBain's work. Hunter revealed that he was McBain in 1958, but continued to use the pseudonym for decades, notably for the 87th Precinct series, and the Matthew Hope detective series. He retired the pen names of Cannon, Marsten, Collins, Addams and Taine around 1960. From then on crime novels were generally attributed to McBain, and other sorts of fiction to Hunter. Reprints of crime-oriented stories and novels written in the 1950s previously attributed to other pseudonyms were re-issued under the McBain byline. Hunter stated that the division of names allowed readers to know what to expect: McBain novels had a consistent writing style, while Hunter novels were more varied.

Hunter wrote an unknown number of pornographic novels for William Hamling's publishing houses as Dean Hudson. Though Hunter denied writing any books as Hudson, several sources have come forward to contradict him. 93 novels were published under the Hudson name between 1961 and 1969. Though many if not most were written by Hunter, it was a common practice at the time for sleaze authors to allow their friends the use of their pseudonyms. No records were kept, and so it is impossible to do more than speculate which specific Hudson books are Hunter's work.

Under the Hunter name, novels steadily appeared throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, including Come Winter (1973), and Lizzie (1984). Hunter was also successful as screenwriter for film and television. He penned the screenplay of the 1963 film The Birds for Alfred Hitchcock, loosely adapted from Daphne du Maurier's short story. He was set to adapt Winston Graham's novel Marnie for Hitchcock, but he and the director disagreed on a crucial scene, and Hunter was let go. He wrote the screenplay for Fuzz (1972) based on the 1968 "87th Precinct" novel of the same name, which he had written as Ed McBain.

From 1958 until his death, McBain's "87th Precinct" novels appeared at a rate of approximately one or two novels a year. From 1978 to 1998, they were joined by another McBain series about lawyer Matthew Hope; books in this series appeared every year or two. For about a decade, from 1984 to 1994, Hunter published no fiction under his own name.

In 2000, a novel called Candyland appeared that was credited to both Hunter and McBain. The two-part novel opened in Hunter's psychologically-based narrative voice before switching to McBain's customary police procedural style. Aside from McBain, Hunter used at least two other pseudonyms after 1960. The 1975 novel Doors was originally attributed to Ezra Hannon, before being reissued as a work by McBain, and the 1992 novel Scimitar was credited to John Abbott.

In addition to his many books, Hunter also gave advice to other authors in his article, Dig in and get it done: no-nonsense advice from a prolific author (aka Ed McBain) on starting and finishing your novel. In it he advises authors to “find their voice for it is the most important thing in any novel.”

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Hunter


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