Lou Cameron

American Writer

1924   -   2010

country of citizenship: United States of America
language of expression: American English
occupation: novelist

Lou Cameron (June 20, 1924 – November 25, 2010) was an American writer and a comic book artist. He was born in San Francisco in 1924 to Lou Cameron Sr. and Ruth Marvin Cameron, a vaudeville comedian and his vocalist wife. Cameron served in Europe during World War II in the U.S. Army's 2nd Armored Division ("Hell On Wheels"). Before becoming a writer, Cameron illustrated comics such as Classics Illustrated and miscellaneous horror comics. One of his first written stories, "The Last G.I.," is a science fiction story about American soldiers struggling to survive in a nuclear battlefield. It appeared in Real War (volume 2 number 2, October 1958). His work usually boasted muscular, no-nonsense prose through a prism of wry cynicism, sharp observation, and a signature combination of gusto with pulp-style gritty realism; he was also expert at devising unexpected, 11th hour plot twists. Fantastically versatile and prolific, his work ran the gamut in quality from inspired artistry, to for-the-buck shock sensationalism. But his style remained individual and unmistakable. The film-to-book adaptations he wrote include None but the Brave (based on the anti-war film directed by and starring Frank Sinatra), California Split (based on the Joseph Walsh screenplay for the Robert Altman film starring Elliott Gould and George Segal), Sky Riders (based on the adventure film starring James Coburn, Robert Culp and Susannah York), Hannibal Brooks (based on the screenplay written by the team of Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais for the Michael Winner film starring Oliver Reed and Michael J. Pollard), and an epic volume based on a number of scripts for the award-winning CBS miniseries How the West Was Won that starred James Arness (not to be confused with the novelization by Louis L'Amour of the identically titled feature film, although the TV series was loosely based on that film). On top of these labeled novelizations, Cameron wrote what's known as an inferred novelization, which doesn't declare itself directly as such, but can be divined from indicia. The WWII adventure novel, Morituri by German author W. J. Lueddecke, a bestseller in Europe, had not been published in English before work began on the film. The translation, by H.R. Noerdlinger, had been commissioned by 20th Century Fox for in-studio use only. It was probably deemed unfit for commercial publication on its own terms. Thus, the movie tie-in paperback novel that hit the book racks in 1965, copyright to the publisher, Fawcett, contains, on its title page, the by-lines of author and translator, and under that, "Edited for Gold Medal Books by Lou Cameron." This page is opposite a page of movie credits, including "Screenplay by Daniel Taradash." Cameron's credit is thus "code" for his actual assignment — which was to create a new, hybrid novel drawn from both the translation of the original and the Taradash screenplay, both of which materials would have been provided by the movie studio. He also wrote two novels based on TV series: an original, The Outsider, based on the Private Eye series created by Roy Huggins and starring Darren McGavin; and "A Praying Mantis Kills", one of the novelizations of the Kung Fu television series, under the "house name" (shared pseudonym provided by the publisher) "Howard Lee". (The three other books in that series were written, also as Howard Lee, by Barry N. Maltzberg and Ron Goulart.) Alone among Cameron's tie-ins, "The Outsider" is written in the first person, from the POV of its main character, P.I. David Ross. Though that perspective is naturally derived from the main character's voice-over commentary in the episodes, Cameron often employed first person narrative in his original novels, particularly the earlier (1960-1970) standalone works, such as "The Empty Quarter", "Angel's Flight", "The Good Guy" and "The Amphorae Pirates". Cameron also created the character Longarm — whose adventures, starting in the late 1970s, pretty much defined the then-new sex-and-sagebrush subgenre of the "adult" Western — under the house name "Tabor Evans" and wrote at least 52 of the more-than-400 books in the series. He wrote the Renegade series as "Ramsay Thorne", and the Stringer series under his own name. He also wrote at least one Easy Company novel as "John Wesley Howard", In 2004, his novel The Subway Stalker was adapted to film by French director Jean-Pierre Mocky as Le Furet. He received awards for his Western writings, such as the Golden Spur for The Spirit Horses. He wrote in estimate over 300 books, including titles below compiled from copyright records at the Library of Congress.
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