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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 12 July 1933Brooklyn, New York, USA
Date of Death 31 December 2008San Tancho, Mexico  (heart attack)
Birth NameDonald Edwin Edmund Westlake
Nickname The Neil Simon of the Crime Novel

Mini Bio (1)

Donald E. Westlake was born on July 12, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Donald Edwin Edmund Westlake. He was a writer, known for Payback (1999), The Stepfather (2009) and The Stepfather (1987). He was married to Abigail Adams, Sandra Foley and Nedra Henderson. He died on December 31, 2008 in San Tancho, Mexico.

Spouse (3)

Abigail Adams (18 May 1979 - 31 December 2008) (his death)
Sandra Foley (9 April 1967 - 1975) (divorced) (2 children)
Nedra Henderson (10 August 1957 - 1966) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (12)

In addition to writing nearly 50 novels and a handful of screenplays under his own name, Westlake has written almost 30 novels as "Richard Stark", 4 novels as "Samuel Holt", 5 novels as "Tucker Coe", 1 science-fiction novel and several sf short stories as "Curt Clark", 1 novel as "J. Morgan Cunningham" and 1 novel as "Timothy J. Culver". He used multiple pseudonyms in part to combat skepticism over his rapid rate of writing books, sometimes as many as four a year, his friends said. Stephen King's pseudonym/alter ego Richard Bachman was named in honor of Richard Stark.
Lives in Ancram, NY where his beautiful garden is often open to public tours.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, vol. 137, pages 407-414. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
In Westlake's comic crime novel "Jimmy the Kid," a group of thieves stage a kidnapping using a novel by Richard Stark as the basis for their plan. Richard Stark is the pseudonym that Westlake publishes is dark and gritty crime novels under. In addition, Richard Stark himself appears (briefly) as a character in "Jimmy the Kid.".
His novels "Slayground" (featuring professional thief Parker) and "The Blackbird" (featuring Parker's sometime-accomplice Alan Grofield) share the same opening chapter.
His novel "Drowned Hopes" shares a chapter with the novel "32 Cadillacs" by Joe Gores. The chapters are not identical, however, instead presenting the same event from the perspective of the characters in each book. Similarly, Westlake's "Plunder Squad" (a Richard Stark/Parker novel) shares a chapter with Gore's "Dead Skip.".
Shares his middle name, Edwin, with Stephen King. His own pseudonym, Richard Stark, partially inspired King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman.
Created all his manuscripts on manual typewriters.
Awarded three Edgar Awards and the title of Grand Master (1993) from the Mystery Writers of America.
When it was discovered that Stephen King had been using the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King turned that story into a novel as well: The Dark Half (1993) is about a writer whose pen name is discovered. In that book, Thad Beaumount uses the pen name "George Stark." Both that name and Richard Bachman are taken from Westlake's pen name, Richard Stark.
He had four sons by his first two wives: Sean Alan (B. 1959), Steven Albert (B. 1961), Tod David (B. 1963 and adopted by him in 1969), and Paul Edwin (B. 1969).
Served in the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1956.

Personal Quotes (1)

If I write a novel, I'm a god. If I write a screenplay, I'm a minor deity.

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