New York Times Best selling
JAMES LEO HERLIHY
Best selling author of Midnight Cowboy, James Leo Herlihy, born in 1927 to a blue collar family in Detroit, Michigan, in 1945 joined the Navy straight out of high school. He did not see combat, and soon began to write short stories.
Herlihy then studied sculpture, painting, music and literature at experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, the faculty boasting luminaries William De Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham and John Cage.
After some success as an actor - between1948 and 1952 he appeared in some 50 roles in West Coast theaters (and in 1963 he played Jerry in Edward Albee's "Zoo Story" in Boston and Paris) in the mid-1950s, Herlihy wrote for television.
In 1960 he published the critically acclaimed All Fall Down, continuing his characteristic themes of troubled adolescence and marginal, beaten-down characters in tough, gritty stories. All Fall Down hit the big screen in 1962, and in 1965, Midnight Cowboy cemented his reputation as a writer, three years later becoming one of the biggest film hits in history.
After the success of Midnight Cowboy, Herlihy retreated from the public eye and concentrated on teaching playwriting at New York's City College.