Friday, December 4, 2015

Writers Born Today - Cornell Woolrich

It's the birthday of Cornell Woolrich, born December 4, 1903 in New York City.

For a while he lived in Mexico with his father after his parents separated, but returned to New York to live with his mother. F. Scott Fitzgerald was an early influence on his writing. He went to college at Columbia, but dropped out after his first novel, Cover Charge, was published.

His best writing occurred in the 1940s, with titles such The Bride Wore Black, I Married A Dead Man, and Night Has A Thousand Eyes. He also wrote under the pen names William Irish and George Hopley.

Many of his characters face a world of bleak prospects with little room for success or sentimentality. In his novel The Black Angel a man kills himself for the love of a woman, She remarks with cynicism, "I gave him something to die for. That was more than he'd had before. It's better to die for something than to live for nothing."

He's been called the Poe of the 20th century. Much of his work, especially his short stories, were published in pulp detective magazines, and are out of print. But as a testament to his skill, over two dozens films have been made based on his stories and novels. The best known is Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, based on his story It Had To Be Murder.

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