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Evan Hunter

Evan Hunter Evan Hunter[1†]

Evan Hunter, born Salvatore Albert Lombino, was an American author renowned for his crime and mystery fiction, particularly the 87th Precinct novels under the pen name Ed McBain. His notable works include "The Blackboard Jungle" and the screenplay for Hitchcock’s "The Birds". Hunter, who legally changed his name in 1952, also used several other pseudonyms. Born on October 15, 1926, in New York City, he died on July 6, 2005, in Weston, Connecticut, leaving a significant impact on the police procedural genre with over 50 books published[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Salvatore Albert Lombino, who would later become known as Evan Hunter, was born and raised in New York City[1†]. He lived in East Harlem until the age of 12, when his family moved to the Bronx[1†]. He attended Olinville Junior High School (later Richard R. Green Middle School #113), then Evander Childs High School (now Evander Childs Educational Campus)[1†].

Hunter showed an early interest in the arts, winning a New York Art Students League scholarship[1†]. He was later admitted as an art student at Cooper Union[1†]. During World War II, Lombino served in the United States Navy and wrote several short stories while serving aboard a destroyer in the Pacific[1†]. However, none of these stories was published until after he had established himself as an author in the 1950s[1†].

After the war, Lombino returned to New York and attended Hunter College, where he majored in English and psychology, with minors in dramatics and education[1†]. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1950[1†]. During his time at Hunter College, he published a weekly column in the college newspaper as "S.A. Lombino"[1†]. 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[1†]. This experience would later form the basis for his novel The Blackboard Jungle (1954), written under the pen name Evan Hunter[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Evan Hunter began his writing career in the early 1950s[1†]. In 1951, he took a job as an executive editor for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, working with authors such as Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clarke, Lester del Rey, Richard S. Prather, and P.G. Wodehouse[1†]. He made his first professional short story sale the same year, a science-fiction tale titled “Welcome, Martians!”, credited to S. A. Lombino[1†].

Hunter’s breakthrough came with the publication of his novel The Blackboard Jungle in 1954[1†][2†]. This semi-autobiographical novel about life in a troubled inner-city school was adapted into a hit film in 1955[1†][2†]. Following the success of The Blackboard Jungle, Hunter wrote the screenplays for several films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds in 1963[1†][2†].

However, Hunter is best known for his 87th Precinct novels, published under the pen name Ed McBain[1†][2†]. These books, more than 50 in total, are considered staples of the police procedural genre[1†][2†]. The series began with Cop Hater in 1956[1†][2†], and included titles such as Fuzz (1968), Widows (1991), and Mischief (1993)[1†][2†]. His 50th novel in the 87th Precinct series, The Last Dance, was published in 1999[1†][2†].

Hunter’s work has been recognized with several awards. He received the Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for his 87th Precinct novels[3†]. In 1986, he was honored with the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America[1†][3†]. In 2001, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America[1†][3†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Evan Hunter’s career as a writer was marked by a number of significant publications that have left a lasting impact on the genre of crime and mystery fiction[1†][2†].

Hunter’s work as a screenwriter also deserves mention. He wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film “The Birds,” based on the Daphne du Maurier short story[1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Evan Hunter’s works of popular fiction explore family-oriented topics such as parent-child relationships, love, and individual responsibility, as well as social issues like drug abuse, gang violence, and war[4†]. His realistic crime novels, particularly the 87th Precinct series written under the pseudonym Ed McBain, are widely recognized for their authentic portrayal of urban crime prevention[4†].

Hunter’s early novel, “The Blackboard Jungle” (1954), based on his experiences as an English teacher in a New York City vocational high school, earned him initial critical attention[4†]. The novel’s portrayal of a young, idealistic teacher whose enthusiasm is nearly turned to apathy by his students’ indifferent attitude and lack of motivation helped foster greater understanding of the problems of teenage delinquency[4†].

Critics contend that Hunter’s depiction of America’s rise to power—and the consequences of obtaining such power—in his novel “Sons” (1969) evokes a poignant sense of history[4†]. In “Streets of Gold” (1974), Hunter focuses on an Italian immigrant family and their search for the American dream at the expense of their old-world values[4†]. Despite some critics noting an abundance of clichés and stock situations in this work, others found “Streets of Gold” rich in moralistic themes and praised Hunter’s ironic depiction of happiness and prosperity in America[4†].

Hunter’s 87th Precinct series is commended for its authentic portrayal of urban crime prevention[4†]. The precinct itself is considered the most recognizable feature of the series[4†]. Unlike most other detectives in crime fiction, Hunter’s investigators exhibit basic human traits and frailties[4†]. Although some critics view the later McBain novels as marginal in comparison to the earlier works, chiefly because they revolve around sensational sex crimes and grisly murders, Hunter is considered one of the most creative and original writers in the genre[4†].

Personal Life

Evan Hunter, born Salvatore Albert Lombino, was known for his private and respectful personal life[1†][2†][5†][6†]. He was married three times, with his first two marriages ending in divorce[1†][5†]. His third marriage, to Dragica Dimitrijevic, lasted until his death in 2005[1†][5†][6†]. He had three sons and a step-daughter[1†][5†].

Hunter was not only a prolific writer but also a dedicated family man. Despite his busy writing schedule and the demands of his career, he always made time for his family[1†][2†][5†][6†]. His personal life, though private, was filled with the love and support of his family[1†][2†][5†][6†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Evan Hunter, who wrote under several pseudonyms, most notably Ed McBain, left an indelible mark on the world of literature[1†][2†]. His work, particularly the 87th Precinct series, is considered a staple of the police procedural genre[1†][2†]. His novels have been translated into multiple languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide[1†][2†].

Hunter’s legacy extends beyond his novels. His screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” is considered a classic of the horror genre[1†]. His semi-autobiographical novel “The Blackboard Jungle” not only became a bestseller but also a successful film, contributing to the conversation about inner-city schools[1†].

Despite his passing in 2005, Evan Hunter’s work continues to be read and appreciated by fans of crime and mystery fiction around the world[1†][2†]. His influence on the genre is undeniable, and his contribution to literature is significant[1†][2†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Evan Hunter [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Evan Hunter: American author [website] - link
  3. The Famous Personalities - Evan Hunter Bio, Wiki, Age, Height, DOB(Famous Birthday), Family, Wife, Famous Books, Net Worth [website] - link
  4. eNotes - Evan Hunter Critical Essays [website] - link
  5. Famous Birthdays - Evan Hunter - Trivia, Family, Bio [website] - link
  6. Today - Writer Evan Hunter dies at age 78 [website] - link
  7. The Movie Database (TMDB) - Evan Hunter [website] - link
  8. Goodreads - Book: Candyland [website] - link
  9. Popular Bio. - Evan Hunter Age, Net Worth, Bio, Height [Updated June 2024 ] [website] - link
  10. American Literature - Evan Hunter [website] - link
  11. Encyclopedia of World Biography - Evan Hunter Biography [website] - link
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