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Richard Condon

Richard Condon

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Also Known As: Richard Thomas Condon Died: April 9, 1996
Born: March 18, 1915 Cause of Death: kidney failure
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: novelist, screenwriter, publicist, advertising copywriter, hotel clerk, elevator operator, waiter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A highly-regarded American author whose 1959 political thriller novel "The Manchurian Candidate" was turned into the classic 1962 feature film bearing the same name, Richard Condon only worked on one produced screenplay, co-writing (with Janet Roach) the 1985 adaptation of his 1982 quick-paced mobster family novel, "Prizzi's Honor", but he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. His work was often darkly comic, but often not comic at all, delving into the inner recesses of evil minds, tackling the notion of what people do when in the power seat.A product of the New York City schools, Condon worked for 22 years as a publicist, including a stint with Walt Disney, before publishing his first novel, "The Oldest Confession," in 1958. A museum theft caper, it was made into a film as "The Happy Thieves" with Rex Harrison in 1962. His second novel was "The Manchurian Candidate," a stirring tale of post Korean War brainwashing and including an evil mother character (played in the 1962 film by Angela Lansbury) the likes of which have rarely been seen in literature or on the screen. Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra also starred in the feature, which was directed by John Frankenheimer....

A highly-regarded American author whose 1959 political thriller novel "The Manchurian Candidate" was turned into the classic 1962 feature film bearing the same name, Richard Condon only worked on one produced screenplay, co-writing (with Janet Roach) the 1985 adaptation of his 1982 quick-paced mobster family novel, "Prizzi's Honor", but he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. His work was often darkly comic, but often not comic at all, delving into the inner recesses of evil minds, tackling the notion of what people do when in the power seat.

A product of the New York City schools, Condon worked for 22 years as a publicist, including a stint with Walt Disney, before publishing his first novel, "The Oldest Confession," in 1958. A museum theft caper, it was made into a film as "The Happy Thieves" with Rex Harrison in 1962. His second novel was "The Manchurian Candidate," a stirring tale of post Korean War brainwashing and including an evil mother character (played in the 1962 film by Angela Lansbury) the likes of which have rarely been seen in literature or on the screen. Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra also starred in the feature, which was directed by John Frankenheimer. Condon published "A Talent For Loving" in 1961, the story of a professional gambler who marries into a wealthy Mexican family. (It was made into a Richard Widmark film vehicle in 1969.) In 1964 came the novel "An Infinity of Mirrors," not a holocaust novel, but piercing in its examination of the evil that percolates with psyches such as those of the Nazis.

Condon was particularly prolific in the 70s, publishing a novel virtually each year. Particularly successful was "Winter Kills" (1974), which looked touched back on some "Manchurian Candidate" areas as it looked at the assassination of a president through the eyes of the younger brother who tries to solve the case. It was made into a film in 1979 which was unsuccessful in its original release, but was re-released in a re-edited form in 1983 and has since found favor as a dark comedy. "Prizzi's Honor," which told the tale of a Mafia button man married to a button woman and involved in an intrigue manipulated by the Mafia don's fallen granddaughter, was published in 1982. Its success as a novel and as a 1985 feature film spawned two sequels, "Prizzi's Family" (1986) and "Prizzi's Glory" (1988). Condon died of kidney failure in 1996. After spending much of the 60s and 70s outside the USA, he settled in Dallas nearby one of his daughters. At the time of his death, "Prizzi's Family" was in development as a motion picture, and there was talk of a remake of "Manchurian Candidate". In all, he wrote 26 novels and two works of non-fiction, including "The Mexican Stove," written with his daughter, Wendy Jackson, and "And Then We Moved to Rossenarra," a memoir of his years living in Ireland.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Sold first article to <i>Esquire</i>
:
Worked as copywriter at an advertising agency
:
Hired as movie publicist by Walt Disney Studios; spent 22 years in Hollywood working for almost every studio at one time or another
:
Moved back to NYC in late 1950s; began writing novels
1958:
First novel published, "The Oldest Confession"; sold to films and made under title "The Happy Thieves" (1962)
1959:
Published "The Manchurian Candidate"; also filmed in 1962
1959:
Moved to Mexico
1961:
Published "A Talent for Loving"; also filmed in 1969
:
Relocated to Switzerland
:
Settled in Ireland
1974:
Published "Winter Kills"; also filmed in 1979
1980:
Moved back to US; settled in Dallas, TX
1985:
Co-wrote first script (with Janet Roach); adaptation of his novel "Prizzi's Honor"; earned Oscar nomination
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Education

DeWitt Clinton High School: New York , New York - 1934

Notes

Condon named the characters in the infantry squad of "The Manchurian Candidate" after the members of Phil Silvers' troop on "The Phil Silvers Show".

"I'm a man of the marketplace as well as an artist. I'm a pawnbroker of myth." --Richard Condon

"Every book I've ever written has been about the abuse of power. I feel very strongly about that. I'd like people to know how deeply their politicians are wronging them." --Richard Condon

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Evelyn Condon. Former model. Married 1937; survived him; died September 22, 1996 at age 78.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Richard Aloysius Condon. Lawyer. Served as aide to New York Governor Al Smith.
mother:
Martha Condon. Legal secretary.
daughter:
Wendy Jackson. Author. Co-wrote cookbook with father; survived him.
daughter:
Deborah Condon. Survived him.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"The Oldest Confession"
"The Manchurian Candidate"
"Some Angry Angel"
"A Talent For Loving"
"An Infinity of Mirrors"
"Any God Will Do"
"The Ecstasy Business"
"Mile High"
"Vertical Smile"
"Arigato"
"Winter Kills"
"Star Spangled Crunch"
"Money Is Love"
"The Whisper of the Axe"
"The Abandoned Woman"
"Bandicott"
"Death of a Politician"
"Some Angry Angel"
"Arigato"
"The Entwining"
"Prizzi's Honor"
"A Trembling Upon Rome"
"Prizzi's Family"
"Prizzi's Glory"
"Prizzi's Money"
"And Then We Moved to Rossenarra"
"The Mexican Stove"
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