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Author Information: David Goodis

 
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1917-1967

David Goodis was born in Philadelphia to a middle-class Jewish family and graduated from Temple University in 1938 with a degree in journalism. While working at an advertising agency he wrote his first novel, Retreat From Oblivion, a mainstream book. Although it was not well-received when it was published in 1939, he moved to New York City to pursue a writing career. By that time he was already a contributor to the thriving pulp market, writing, under several pseudonyms, for magazines like Terror Tales and Manhunt, and for radio serials like “Hop Harrigan” and “Superman.” He achieved early success when his second novel, Dark Passage, was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post and adapted into the Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall film. At age 30, that would prove to be the commercial peak of his career. He signed a six-year contract with Warner Brothers and moved to Hollywood, but his only produced script during that period was "The Unfaithful," a remake of "The Letter." In 1950 he moved back into his parents' house in Philadelphia, where he would remain for the rest of his life. After having published three more hardcover novels during the Hollywood years, he descended into the paperback original market. At night, he haunted the seedy bars and nightclubs in Philadelphia’s black ghettos, seeking the company of obese women. After his mother died he spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. He died two years later of cirrhosis of the liver.

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