Donald E. Westlake, a prolific mystery writer who won three Edgar Awards and an Academy Award nomination for screenplay adaptation in a career spanning five decades, has died. He was 75.
Westlake collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack on his way to dinner New Year's Eve while on vacation in Mexico, his wife, Abigail, told the New York Times.
The author of more than 90 books -- most of them written on a typewriter -- Westlake wrote under a variety of pseudonyms including Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt and Edwin West -- in part because people didn't believe he could write so much, so fast.
"In the beginning, people didn't want to publish more than one book a year by the same author," Susan Richman, his publicist at Grand Central Publishing, told the New York Times.
In recent years, Westlake wrote under only his own name and the pseudonym Richard Stark. More than 15 of his books were made into films, and he wrote a number of screenplays -- most prominent among them, "The Grifters," the adaptation of the Jim Thompson pulp novel, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991. ...