John D. MacDonald - Author

John Dann MacDonald was born on July 24, 1916, in Sharon, Pennsylvania. During World War Two, he served in the OSS in the far east and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. While still in the military, he wrote a short story and mailed it home to his wife, simply for her entertainment. Unknown to him, she submitted it to the magazine “Story,” and it was accepted.

MacDonald is best known for the series of detective-style novels featuring Travis McGee, with an interesting twist on the usual hard-boiled character; McGee was NOT a licensed private investigator, and in most of the novels, he agrees to recover something of value for a friend or a friend of a friend; his fee is one-half the value of the object.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Scott F. Johnson

A seasoned salvage expert, McGee lives on his houseboat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, docked in slip F-18a at the marina Bahia Mar. The marina and slip actually exist but slip F-18 is never used. A plaque of bronze can readily be seen at the slip, a memorial to MacDonald and Travis McGee.

Over his long career, MacDonald wrote twenty-one Travis McGee books, forty-three stand-alone novels, five Science fiction books, five non-fiction books, and thirty-three short stories for pulp publication. Early in his career, MacDonald became obsessed with short story writing and often worked horrendously long hours, seven days a week, receiving a high percentage of rejections. Obviously, rejections never inhibited his enthusiasm

 In 1980, the Travis McGee title, The Green Ripper, won the U.S National Book Award, one of many awards bestowed upon the author. MacDonald once said, “They pay me to do this! They don’t realize I would pay them.” 
Quotation, Penguin Books

The highly popular film Cape Fear, 1962, an adaptation of McDonald’s 1958 novel, Executioners, was one of the eleven McDonald books made into motion pictures.   

I venture to say, all of MacDonald’s books are still being printed and readily available. A biography, “The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life And Times of John D. MacDonald.” was written by Hugh Merrill in 2016.  

“The text is peppered with quotes from MacDonald on the subjects he cared most about: the environment and how to make money from the writing game. For anyone interested in the history of publishing in the paperback era, the life of John D. MacDonald is the ultimate primary source.” —Bill Ott, Booklist               

Research Credits:
Penguin Books
Book Series In Order

More on John D. MacDonald:


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