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Jack Black started his life of crime at age fifteen. A petty thief and hobo - riding the rails all over the US and Canada - he went straight at the age of 45 and later published You Can't Win an autobiographical account of his exploits which became a national bestseller. After his success he became more serious about writing, penned the play, Salt Chunk Mary and worked for MGM writing prison dramas. He also spent some time as a librarian in San Francisco and speaking out for prison reform. In 1929, Jack went to New York to organize a production of Salt Chunk Mary never to return to California. Jack Black vanished in 1932 and is believed to have drowned having made on good on his promise that "if life got too grim, he would tie weights to his feet, row out into New York Harbor and drop overboard."