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Author Information: Charles Willeford

 
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1919-1988

Charles Willeford was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Both of his parents died of tuberculosis, his father when he was two and mother when he was eight. Because of his grandmother’s difficulty supporting him during the Depression, when he was twelve he became a hobo, a “road kid." At age sixteen, he lied about his age and joined the army. He served in the Army and Army Air Corps for twenty years, including during World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded two Purple Hearts among other honors. In 1948, he published his first book, a poetry chapbook. All of his early novels were published by bottom-rung paperback original houses. At age 36, after his first three novels came out, he retired from the army and enrolled at the University of Miami, earning a B.A. and a M.A. in English Literature. He went on to teach at the university and was chairman of the English and Philosophy department at Miami-Dade Junior College from 1968 to 1970. In the early sixties he was also an assistant editor at Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his novel, Cockfighter (filmed 1974), and appeared in a supporting role. At age 65, Willeford finally achieved commercial success with his Hoke Mosely series. He died of a heart attack four years later.

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