Alan LeMay

A Biography of the Author of The Searchers


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About the Book

Although much has been written about the 1950s cult film The Searchers, Alan LeMay, the author of the novel upon which the movie is based, has received little attention. This welcome biography tells the engaging story of the career freelance writer who sold his first story at age 19 and never held a permanent job. LeMay gained success in the 1930s writing Westerns and in the 1940s penning scripts for “big outdoor” films but he is best remembered for Searchers (1953) and another novel adapted into a popular film, The Unforgiven (1957). Sometimes rich but frequently poor, LeMay supported a family with his writing and engaged in a variety of ventures, including cattle ranching, polo playing, flying, and road racing. This narrative of his unconventional life offers an insider’s view of Hollywood and conveys the unique stresses of a career in screenwriting.

About the Author(s)

Dan LeMay, an engineer educated at Caltech and MIT, inventor and retired avocado farmer, is archivist of the LeMay Family Collection and the author of several nonfiction books.

Bibliographic Details

Dan LeMay
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6690-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8981-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

1. Washout      3
2. Origins      6
3. Heading West      22
4. Rancho Una Vaca      31
5. Recovery      41
6. Hello, Hollywood      44
7. Reap the Wild Wind      50
8. Life in the Film Colony      56
9. World War II      69
10. The Foto-Electric Games      76
11. Mark Twain      81
12. The Story of Dr. Wassell      90
13. The Rurales      96
14. Useless Cowboy      102
15. A Year at Warner’s      108
16. The Walking Hills      116
17. The Business of Filmmaking      122
18. Independence      130
19. Working with the Military      144
20. Television      153
21. Racing      156
22. Legacy      163

Appendix: Story List      183
Notes      193
Annotated Bibliography      197
Index      203

Book Reviews & Awards

“a real inside look at pulp writing…a great read…well done and interesting…photos are…fabulous…a treat…a great job all around”—Classic Images.