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Woolrich, Cornell

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 7 months ago
Source: Wikipedia

Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich (December 4, 1903 - September 25, 1968) was an American novelist and short story writer. His parents separated when Cornell was young, and he lived in Latin America with his father, before moving back to New York City to live with his mother.


His first novel was Cover Charge, a Jazz Age work published in 1926. He also wrote under the pseudonyms George Hopley and William Irish. He wrote the story "It Had to be Murder" in 1942 under the Irish name. It was retitled Rear Window in 1944 and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. The Bride Wore Black (La Mariée était en noir) was made into a film by François Truffaut.


Woolrich lived the last thirty-five years of his mother's life with her in a seedy hotel room in Harlem, New York, although he did move in and out of the room into another room at the same hotel frequently. He never allowed his mother to read any of his work. He was married for three weeks to Violet Virginia Blackton, a producer's daughter, but apparently homosexual tendencies convinced him he could not remain married (he left his wife a locked suitcase containing a diary detailing his homosexual adventures).


Following his mother's death, Woolrich moved in and out of various hotels in New York. Alcoholism and an amputated leg (caused by an infection from a too-tight shoe which went untreated) left him a recluse. He even refused to attend the premiere of the Truffaut work of his novel, even though it was held in New York City. At the time of his death, he weighed 89 pounds.


He left one million dollars to Columbia University for a scholarship for potential writers, in his mother's name.


Francis Nevins Jr., in his Woolrich biography First You Dream, Then You Die, rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of the era, behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler.


Following his death in 1968, he was buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.





A complete short story bibliography can be found here.




The Bride Wore Black (1940) aka Beware the Lady

The Black Curtain (1941)

Black Alibi (1942)

The Black Angel (1943)

The Black Path of Fear (1944)

Rendezvous in Black (1948)

Savage Bride (1950)

Death Is My Dancing Partner (1959)

The Doom Stone (1960)

Into the Night (1987)

As William Irish

Phantom Lady (1942)

Deadline at Dawn (1944)

Waltz Into Darkness (1947)

I Married a Dead Man (1948)

You'll Never See Me Again (1951)

Strangler's Serenade (1951)


As George Hopley

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1945)

Fright (1950)

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