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Famous Like Me > Writer > S > Mickey Spillane

Profile of Mickey Spillane on Famous Like Me

Name: Mickey Spillane  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 9th March 1918
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Frank Morrison Spillane (born March 9, 1918), better known as Mickey Spillane, is an American author of crime novels.

Early life

Spillane was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in a tough neighborhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Starting his career writing for slick magazines, after some success, he would turn to pulp magazines and comic books. He was paid twelve dollars apiece for a block of copy and could do as many as fifty blocks of copy a day. During World War II, Spillane trained pilots and flew combat missions for the Air Corps.

After the war, Spillane returned to comic books. He also worked as a trampoline performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. He had a short stint as a federal agent during which he helped smash a narcotics ring (he still carries the scars of two bullets and a knife wound to prove it). He was converted to Jehovah's Witnesses in 1952.

Spillane's Works

For a time Spillane was one of the most popular authors in the United States, with seven titles among the ten best-selling American books of the 20th century. His first detective novel was I, the Jury in 1947. He wrote the book in a tent while he built his first house. I, the Jury introduced Spillane's tough detective Mike Hammer. The violence was more overt than it had ever been in a detective story. His books, although considered tame by current standards, had more than their contemporary competitors in terms of sexual episodes.

In 1965, he married his second wife, Sherri Malinou, a model who posed in the nude for the cover of his 1972 book The Erection Set.

Mickey Spillane is the most translated living author in the world today.

Criticism of Spillane's work

Literary critics hated Spillane's writing, citing high content of sex and violence. (Ayn Rand, who highly praised Spillane's books, was virtually the only exception to this consensus.) In answer to his critics, Spillane had a few terse comments:

  • Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.
  • If the public likes you, you're good.


DVD cover of The Girl Hunters

Spillane occasionally acted in movies. He had a chance to play himself as a detective in Ring of Fear in 1954. It was directed by screenwriter, James Edward Grant.

In the 1963 production The Girl Hunters, Spillane played his creation, Mike Hammer (one of the only occasions in film history in which an author of a popular literary hero has portrayed his own character). It also starred Bond girl Shirley Eaton and actor Lloyd Nolan.

Spillane also appeared in a series of beer commercials which parodied his tough-guy image.

Final quote

"I'm actually a softie. Tough guys get killed too early... I've got a full head of hair and don't wear eyeglasses"
— Mickey Spillane, 2004

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Mickey Spillane