Hunter, Evan

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hunter, Evan

Evan Hunter, 1926–2005, American novelist, b. New York City as Salvatore A. Lambino, grad. Hunter Coll. (1950). He achieved both success and acclaim with the publication of his third novel, The Blackboard Jungle (1953, film 1955), a vivid, violence-filled classroom tale drawn from his experiences as a vocational high school teacher. Altogether, Hunter wrote two dozen novels, several of which also became films; numerous short-story collections; stage and television plays; children's books; and many screenplays, the best known of which was for Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller The Birds. Among his other novels are Strangers When We Meet (1958, film 1960), Streets of Gold (1974), and Criminal Conversation (1994). He also wrote the memoir Me and Hitch (1997). Hunter's prolific output was surpassed by that of his pseudonymous alter-ego, Ed McBain, the name under which he wrote a series of outstanding crime novels, beginning with Cop Hater (1956, film 1958) and ending with the posthumously published Fiddlers (2005). More than 50 of these comprise the gritty "87th Precinct" series, in which he virtually invented the police procedural, a realistic genre that has proved popular and enduring. Other books in the series include Fuzz (1968, film 1972), Widows (1991), and Money, Money, Money (2001). Hunter also wrote fiction under several other pen names—John Abbot, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten.

See studies by G. N. Dove (1987) and T. Bergman (1996).

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