Irish American Museum of Washington, D.C.
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Frank Morrison Spillane



Born March 9, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York, Frank Morrison Spillane, better known as Mickey Spillane, was a U.S. author of American mystery crime novels. After contributing stories to comic books and pulp magazines, Spillane wrote his first novel, I, the Jury (1947), a best seller that introduced the ruthless detective Mike Hammer. A master of violence-filled hard-boiled mystery fiction.

Spillane wrote a series of books featuring Hammer including My Gun Is Quick (1950), The Big Kill (1951), Kiss Me Deadly (1952), and The Girl Hunters (1962), and the books spawned several films and television series. Spillane also churned out more than 20 other books, e.g., The Deep (1961), The Last Cop Out (1973), The Killing Man (1989), and Black Alley (1996), wrote two childrens' books and several screen- and teleplays, and was a producer and an actor, specializing in tough-guy detective roles.

Raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Spillane was the only child of Scottish mother Catherine Anne and his Irish bartender father, John Joseph Spillane. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold internationally. In 1980, Spillane was responsible for seven of the top 15 all-time best-selling fiction titles in the U.S.

In 1995 the Mystery Writers of America finally presented him the Grand Master, Edgar Allan Poe Award popularly called the Edgars, named after Edgar Allan Poe.