I’ve just learned that Ed Gorman has passed away. Ed had been battling cancer for quite some time. His Sam McCain series of detective novels presented a view of the 1950s small town America that were an homage to the pulp detective novels of the period. There are a couple I haven’t gotten to yet. He also wrote horror novels under the name of Daniel Ransom and westerns under his own name.
As much as I enjoy his novels, it was at shorter lengths that I really got the most from his work. It’s been long enough now that my memory is fuzzy, but I think the first book of his I read was the paperback collection The Dark Fantastic. Containing some of his dark fantasy and horror tales, Ed included an introduction in which he listed some of his influences when he was growing up. Among the list of writers I also admired was Henry Kuttner, who has remained my favorite. I knew when I read that Kuttner had influenced Gorman that I was going to like Gorman. I was right and have been reading him ever since. The Dark Fantastic is long out of print, but you can still pick up copies fairly cheaply online. Check it, or any of Ed’s other books, out.
I never had the pleasure of meeting him, although he commented on one of my posts and said it was well written. I was on cloud nine for days after that. Ed will be missed. I’m going to read some of his work later today. Bill Crider has published this tribute.
Photo Jim Norman
Ed Gorman and Bill Crider are reporting that Jeremiah Healy has died. Healy suffered from severe chronic depression, and this (exacerbated by alcohol) led him to take his own life.
Healy was the award winning author of the John Francis Cuddy series of private investigator novels and stories. He also wrote legal thrillers under the name Terry Devane. The Cuddy stories are among the best private investigator stories I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read his work, you should.
I never had the privilege of meeting him. By all accounts he was well loved by all who knew him. I respectfully offer my condolences to his friends and family. My deepest sympathies, as well as my thoughts and prayers, are with his wife Sandy Balzo.
Even though most of the coverage out of Hollywood today is about Robin Williams, there was a brief announcement on the news a few minutes ago that Lauren Bacall has passed away in New York. The legendary actress was 89.
Bacall got her first movie role in 1944 at the age of 19, with Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not. The sparks onscreen mirrored those off, and they were married the next year. He was 25 years older than she was. Their marriage lasted until Bogart’s death from cancer 12 years later.
Bogey and Bacall in To Have and Have Not
Bacall excelled as a hardboiled woman. Her sultry voice was perfect for a romantic lead in a noir film. To this day, she is the epitome of that type of character.
When I was a teenager, my favorite actor was Humphrey Bogart. (Still is.) Naturally, that means that Bacall had a major influence on me. I’ve not seen one of her films for quite a while. (I hate to be interrupted by anything while watching a film, something my wife, my son, and my dogs refuse to take into consideration.) That’s a failing I need to correct, and I’ll probably watch To Have and Have Not.
Steve and Slim appraise a sticky situation.
Of the four films Bacall and Bogey made together, this is probably my favorite. The dialogue crackles, Steve (Bogey) and Slim (Bacall) are both tough and tender at the same time, and Hoagy Carmichael and Walter Brennan between the two of them nearly steal the show. It’s the movie Bogey made right after Casablanca (my all time favorite), and there are a number of similarities in the two stories.