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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Boulder, Colorado, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from diabetes)
Birth NameJohn Thomas Fante

Spouse (1)

Joyce H. Smart (31 July 1937 - ?) ( 4 children)

Trivia (5)

An internationally celebrated novelist, he wrote screenplays for additional income to support his career as a writer. His novels include "Wait Until Spring, Bandini" (1938), "Ask the Dust" (1939), "Dago Red" (1940)--a collection of short stories--"Full of Life" (1952) and "The Brotherhood of the Grape" (1977). Author Charles Bukowski, greatly influenced by Fante, brought this near-forgotten author to the attention of Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, who brought these novels back into print, as well as Fante's last novel before his death, "Dreams From Bunker Hill" (1982). Black Sparrow published "The Road to Los Angeles" and "1933 Was a Bad Year"--two early Fante novels that had never been previously published--and Fante's selected stories, "The Wine of Youth", in 1985. In 1986 two novellas were published as "West of Rome". Black Sparrow has also published "John Fante & H.L. Mencken: A Personal Correspondance" (1989) and "Selected Letters 1932-1981" (1991).
Black Sparrow Press' reprints brought Fante international critical and commercial success. In the 1970s and 1980s his novels were under consideration for adaption as major motion pictures. Francis Ford Coppola was set to direct a film of "Brotherhood of the Grape", adapted by Robert Towne, who had previously adapted Fante's "Ask the Dust" for the screen (Ask the Dust (2006)_). The only project to see the light of day was the failed Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1989).
Fante was born in Colorado in 1909. He attended school in Boulder, later attending college at The University of Colorado and Long Beach City College. He started his writing career in 1929, publishing his first story in "The American Mercury" in 1932. He published stories in "The Atlantic Monthly", "The Saturday Evening Post", "Collier's", "Harper's" and "Esquire".
Fante contracted diabetes in 1955, which resulted in his blindness in 1978. He wrote by dictation to his wife Joyce. He died May 8, 1983, at the age of 74.
Once said most of his screenwriting was simply hackwork intended to make money. His contempt for the Hollywood movie industry can be found in such books as his posthumously published "West of Rome" (1986).

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