Evan Hunter

Highest Rated: 96% The Birds (1963)
Lowest Rated: 86% Last Summer (1969)
Birthday: Not Available
Birthplace: Not Available
Few writers of any era have had the impact on popular literature that Ed McBain, also known as Evan Hunter, did on the mystery genre -- and under both names (and others), he had a huge impact on motion pictures as well. Ironically enough, though readers of the books he published under each name were seldom aware of the body of work that existed under the other, neither one was his real name -- both Evan Hunter and Ed McBain were names he took for the sake of expediency. He was born Salvatore Lombino in New York City in 1926, the son of Charles Lombino, a postal worker, and the former Marie Coppola, a homemaker. He served in the United States Navy during World War II and, while in uniform, started writing, although he was a long way from making it pay and would be for many years to come. He attended Hunter College, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and chose to enter the teaching profession in New York City. He had little luck in publishing his work over the next few years, however, and eventually reasoned that his ethnic name was a major impediment to getting his work a fair reading by publishers; decades later, he observed that, in 1952, Italian-Americans were not "supposed" to be literate, much less authors, in the eyes of many editors. As a result, Salvatore Lombino changed his name legally to Evan Hunter in 1952, and he sold his first book that year, an adventure novel about Vikings that passed with little notice. It was in 1954 that he had his first substantial impact on the public with his novel The Blackboard Jungle, based on his experiences as a high school teacher in New York. The book was an extraordinary work in its time, blowing the lid off the unspoken truth about urban delinquency and the real state of public education, in the big cities at least. In 1954 the book was a shock to Americans accustomed to images out of Our Miss Brooks and Mr. Peepers on television. At the insistence of author-turned-director Richard Brooks, MGM grabbed up the screen rights to the book and turned it over to Brooks, who adapted the screenplay and directed the movie. The film turned the book into an even bigger success, and in tandem with Warner Bros.' production of Rebel Without a Cause, set the stage for a decade of juvenile delinquency dramas. Growing out of the success of The Blackboard Jungle, Hunter was given a contract to write a series of three crime novels, and he began to do research on the subject. Hunter began working around precincts in New York, talking to cops and finding out how they worked, talked, and thought. Eventually he got so fascinated with the minutiae of police procedure that he started to become a nuisance to some of his contacts -- he also realized that not every police force operated exactly the same way and that he would be limiting himself to set his book specifically in New York City. Further, he wanted to present the police in a realistic way concerning their flaws -- he resented the squeaky-clean presentation accorded the LAPD's detectives by television series such as Dragnet almost as much as he did the absurdly clean vision of high schools that preceded The Blackboard Jungle. He wanted to show the police, as they sometimes do, pursuing the wrong leads and the wrong suspects, and even blind alleys on major cases. Additionally, he was aware of the fact that not every case was monumental in importance, either in the daily scheme of things or in a detective's career, and that no detective in those days caught major cases all of the time. Thus, he decided to avoid the pitfall of having a specific fictional detective as his hero -- instead, the focus of his book would be an entire detective squad at a fictional, generic precinct, designated the 87th Precinct, in a city named Isola, which resembled New York but also had elements that one might recognize from Boston or other major cities. The first book of the crime series had at the center of its action Detective Steve Carella, who was married to a woman who happen

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
No Score Yet The Legend of Walks Far Woman Screenwriter 1982
No Score Yet Walk Proud Screenwriter 1979
No Score Yet Fuzz Screenwriter 1972
86% Last Summer Screenwriter 1969
96% The Birds Screenwriter 1963
No Score Yet Strangers When We Meet Screenwriter 1960

TV

CREDIT
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
1955-1962
Screenwriter
  • 1959

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