Ed McBain

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Ed McBain
EvanHunter.jpg
Ed McBain in March 2001
BornSalvatore Albert Lombino
(1926-10-15)October 15, 1926
New York City, United States
DiedJuly 6, 2005(2005-07-06) (aged 78)
Weston, Connecticut
Pen nameEvan Hunter, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, Dean Hudson, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon, John Abbott
OccupationNovelist, short story writer, screenwriter
NationalityAmerican
Period1951–2005
GenreCrime fiction, mystery fiction, science fiction
SpouseAnita Melnick, 1949 (divorced); Mary Vann Finley, 1973 (divorced); Dragica Dimitrijevic, 1997 (until his death)
Children3 (Richard, Mark, Ted); 1 stepdaughter (Amanda)
 
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Ed McBain
EvanHunter.jpg
Ed McBain in March 2001
BornSalvatore Albert Lombino
(1926-10-15)October 15, 1926
New York City, United States
DiedJuly 6, 2005(2005-07-06) (aged 78)
Weston, Connecticut
Pen nameEvan Hunter, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, Dean Hudson, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon, John Abbott
OccupationNovelist, short story writer, screenwriter
NationalityAmerican
Period1951–2005
GenreCrime fiction, mystery fiction, science fiction
SpouseAnita Melnick, 1949 (divorced); Mary Vann Finley, 1973 (divorced); Dragica Dimitrijevic, 1997 (until his death)
Children3 (Richard, Mark, Ted); 1 stepdaughter (Amanda)

Ed McBain (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[edit]

Early life[edit]

Salvatore Lombino was born and raised 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 was 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, Lombino was inducted into the Hunter College Hall of Fame where he was honored for outstanding professional achievement.[1]

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 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. He made his first professional short story sale that same year, a science-fiction tale titled "Welcome Martians", credited to S.A. Lombino.

Name change and pen names[edit]

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 notice with his 1954 novel Blackboard Jungle. Dealing with juvenile crime and the New York City public school system, the film version followed in 1955. 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 between 1951 and 1956 under the names S.A. Lombino, Evan Hunter, Richard Marsten, D.A. Addams and Ted Taine.

Ed McBain, his best known pseudonym, was first used in 1956, with Cop Hater, the first novel in the 87th Precinct crime series. 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.

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 wrote the screenplay of the Hitchcock film The Birds (1963) loosely adapted from a Daphne du Maurier short story. In the process of adapting Winston Graham's novel Marnie for Hitchcock, Hunter and the director disagreed on the rape scene, and the writer was sacked. Hunter's other screenplays included Strangers When We Meet (1960), based on his own 1958 novel; and 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. NBC ran a police drama also called 87th Precinct during the 1961–62 season based on McBain's work.

From 1978 to 1998, McBain also published a series about lawyer Matthew Hope; books in this series appeared every year or two, and usually had titles derived from well-known children's stories. 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 for his fiction after 1960; Doors (1975) was originally attributed to Ezra Hannon, before being reissued as a work by McBain, and Scimitar (1992) 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."

Dean Hudson controversy[edit]

As well, Hunter has long been rumoured to have written an unknown number of pornographic novels for William Hamling's publishing houses as "Dean Hudson". Though Hunter consistently denied writing any books as Hudson right up to his death, apparently his agent Scott Meredith sold books to Hamling's company as Hunter's work, receiving payments for these books in cash. However, Hunter—if he did write the novels—never dealt with the publisher directly, and no records were kept by Meredith or Hamling of these cash transactions (presumably to avoid paying taxes). As well, Meredith may have forwarded novels to Hamling by any number of authors, claiming these novels were by Hunter simply in order to make a sale. Because of all these factors, it is impossible to do more than speculate as to which specific Hudson books may be Hunter's work.[2] Ninety-three novels were published under the Hudson name between 1961 and 1969, and even the most avid proponents of the Hunter-as-Hudson theory do not believe Hunter is responsible for all 93.

Private life[edit]

He had three sons: Richard Hunter, an author, speaker and advisor to CIOs on business value and risk issues, as well as a harmonica player; Mark Hunter, an academic, educator, investigative reporter and author; and Ted Hunter, a painter, who died in 2006.[3]

A heavy smoker for many decades, Hunter had three heart attacks (his first in 1989) over a number of years and was found to have a precancerous lesion on his larynx in 1992. This was removed but the problem later returned and Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain) died from laryngeal cancer in 2005, aged 78, in Weston, Connecticut.[4]

Awards[edit]

Works[edit]

Novels[edit]

YearTitleCredited
author
SeriesNotes
1952Find The Feathered SerpentEvan HunterChildren's book
1952The Evil Sleep!Evan Hunter
1953Don't Crowd MeEvan Hunter
1953Danger: Dinosaurs!Richard MarstenChildren's book
1953Rocket to LunaRichard MarstenChildren's book
1954The Blackboard JungleEvan Hunter
1954Runaway BlackRichard MarstenLater credited as Ed McBain
1954Cut Me InHunt CollinsLater republished as The Proposition
1955Murder in the NavyRichard MarstenLater republished as Death of a Nurse by Ed McBain
1956Second EndingEvan Hunter
1956Cop HaterEd McBain87th Precinct
1956The MuggerEd McBain87th Precinct
1956The PusherEd McBain87th Precinct
1956Tomorrow's WorldHunt CollinsLater republished as Tomorrow And Tomorrow by Hunt Collins, and as Sphere by Ed McBain
1957The Con ManEd McBain87th Precinct
1957Killer's ChoiceEd McBain87th Precinct
1957Vanishing LadiesRichard MarstenLater republished as by Ed McBain
1957The Spiked HeelRichard Marsten
1958Strangers When We MeetEvan Hunter
1958The April Robin MurdersCraig Rice and Ed McBainHunter finished this novel started by Rice, using his McBain pen name.
1958Killer's PayoffEd McBain87th Precinct
1958Lady KillerEd McBain87th Precinct
1958Even The WickedRichard MarstenLater republished as by Ed McBain
1958I'm Cannon—For HireCurt CannonLater revised and republished as The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain
1959A Matter of ConvictionEvan Hunter
1959The Remarkable HarryEvan HunterChildren's book
1959Big ManRichard MarstenLater republished as by Ed McBain
1959Killer's WedgeEd McBain87th Precinct
1959'til DeathEd McBain87th Precinct
1959King's RansomEd McBain87th Precinct
1960Give the Boys a Great Big HandEd McBain87th Precinct
1960The HecklerEd McBain87th Precinct
1960See Them DieEd McBain87th Precinct
1961Lady, Lady I Did It!Ed McBain87th Precinct
1961Mothers And DaughtersEvan Hunter
1961The Wonderful ButtonEvan HunterChildren's book
1962Like LoveEd McBain87th Precinct
1963Ten Plus OneEd McBain87th Precinct
1964BuddwingEvan Hunter
1964AxEd McBain87th Precinct
1964He Who HesitatesEd McBain87th Precinct
1965DollEd McBain87th Precinct
1965The SentriesEd McBain
1965Me And Mr. StennerEvan HunterChildren's book
1965Happy New Year, HerbieEvan Hunter
1966The Paper DragonEvan Hunter
196680 Million EyesEd McBain87th Precinct
1967A Horse's HeadEvan Hunter
1968Last SummerEvan Hunter
1968FuzzEd McBain87th Precinct
1969SonsEvan Hunter
1969ShotgunEd McBain87th Precinct
1970JigsawEd McBain87th Precinct
1971Nobody Knew They Were ThereEvan Hunter
1971Hail, Hail the Gang's All HereEd McBain87th Precinct
1972Every Little Crook And NannyEvan Hunter
1972Let's Hear It for the Deaf ManEd McBain87th Precinct
1972SevenEvan Hunter
1972Sadie When She DiedEd McBain87th Precinct
1973Come WinterEvan Hunter
1973Hail to the ChiefEd McBain87th Precinct
1974Streets Of GoldEvan Hunter
1974BreadEd McBain87th Precinct
1975Where There's SmokeEd McBain
1975Blood RelativesEd McBain87th Precinct
1975DoorsEzra HannonLater republished as by Ed McBain
1976So Long as You Both Shall LiveEd McBain87th Precinct
1976The ChisholmsEvan Hunter
1976GunsEd McBain
1977Long Time No SeeEd McBain87th Precinct
1978GoldilocksEd McBainMatthew Hope
1979Walk ProudEvan Hunter
1979CalypsoEd McBain87th Precinct
1980GhostsEd McBain87th Precinct
1981Love, DadEvan Hunter
1981HeatEd McBain87th Precinct
1981RumpelstiltskinEd McBainMatthew Hope
1982Beauty & The BeastEd McBainMatthew Hope
1983Far From The SeaEvan Hunter
1983IceEd McBain87th Precinct
1984LizzieEvan Hunter
1984LightningEd McBain87th Precinct
1984Jack & The BeanstalkEd McBainMatthew Hope
1984And All Through the HouseEd McBain87th PrecinctShort-story length work, issued (with illustrations) as a limited-edition novel. Reissued in 1994.
1985Eight Black HorsesEd McBain87th Precinct
1985Snow White & Rose RedEd McBainMatthew Hope
1986Another Part of the CityEd McBain
1986CinderellaEd McBainMatthew Hope
1987PoisonEd McBain87th Precinct
1987TricksEd McBain87th Precinct
1987Puss in BootsEd McBainMatthew Hope
1988The House that Jack BuiltEd McBainMatthew Hope
1989LullabyEd McBain87th Precinct
1990VespersEd McBain87th Precinct
1990Three Blind MiceEd McBainMatthew Hope
1991DowntownEd McBain
1991WidowsEd McBain87th Precinct
1992KissEd McBain87th Precinct
1992Mary, MaryEd McBainMatthew Hope
1992ScimitarJohn Abbott
1993MischiefEd McBain87th Precinct
1994There Was A Little GirlEd McBainMatthew Hope
1994Criminal ConversationEvan Hunter
1995RomanceEd McBain87th Precinct
1996Privileged ConversationEvan Hunter
1996Gladly The Cross-Eyed BearEd McBainMatthew Hope
1997NocturneEd McBain87th Precinct
1998The Last Best HopeEd McBainMatthew Hope
1999The Big Bad CityEd McBain87th Precinct
2000CandylandEvan Hunter and Ed McBainTwo-part novel that was billed as a "collaboration" between Hunter and his pseudonym.
2000Driving LessonsEd McBain
2000The Last DanceEd McBain87th Precinct
2001Money, Money, MoneyEd McBain87th Precinct
2002The Moment She Was GoneEvan Hunter
2002Fat Ollie's BookEd McBain87th Precinct
2003The Frumious BandersnatchEd McBain87th Precinct
2004Hark!Ed McBain87th Precinct
2005Alice in JeopardyEd McBain
2005FiddlersEd McBain87th Precinct

Collections[edit]

Autobiographical[edit]

Plays[edit]

Screenplays[edit]

Teleplays[edit]

As editor[edit]

Incomplete novels[edit]

Film adaptations[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]