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Alistair MacLean
AKA: Ian Stuart
Occupation: Screenwriter
Also: Writer
Birthname: Alistair George Gilach MacLean
Birthdate: April 28, 1922
Birthplace: Diviot, Scotland
Education: Glasgow university
Died: February 2, 1987(Munich, Germany)

When Alistair MacLean passed away on the 2nd of February 1987 he had written more than 30 adventure novels and quite a few descriptive ones. He died as one ofthe most famous and beloved writers of our time and maybe the best inintelligent thriller writing ever. His books have been read by millionsof people all over the world and are translated into most languages. Most of his adventure novels have also been filmed, and are regarded asclassics, among others The Guns of Navarone (starring Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven), Where Eagles Dare (starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood) and Ice Station Zebra (starring Rock Hudson). But behind the gloriousand praised author hid the less glorious incarnation of a true coward, an alcoholic and a wife maltreator.

The Young Alistair MacLean
Alistair MacLean was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1923, as the thefourth child of Alistair and Mary MacLean. As a little boy, hismajor interest was reading books, his favorite authors being CharlesDickens and Alexandre Dumas. At the age of 17 he dropped out of school, and signed on amerchant vessel. One year later - in 1941 - he was enlisted to theBritish navy where he became torpedo launcher For 18 months he worked on the British naval basein the northern parts of Scotland. He came to use his memories andexperiences from that time in many of his novels, among others in hisdebut book; HMS Ulysses.

The Writer
It was a set of circumstances rather than an idea that made Alistair MacLean a writer. He was working as a teacher when he 1955 waspersuaded to take part in a novel-writing competition arranged by Scottish newspaper The Glasgow Herald. The first price was 1000 pounds. Hemanaged to win the competition, and that was the start of a long andsuccessful writing career.

Although a succesfull author, Alistair MacLean didn't really like writing novels. Despite this, he wrote over 30 of them. He wasabout to give up several times. One time he told his publisher that hewas so tired of writing books that he had decided to quit withimmediate action. But after two bottles of Glen Morange he signed the contract and promised to write a new book that autumn.

The Alcoholic
Maybe due to the dislike of his profession, Alistair MacLean became analcoholic early on. His large consumption of whiskey gradually causedhis death. The alcohol made MacLean very jealous and aggressive. Themain victim for this was his wife Marcy Macelle, and during theirmarriage she got one broken jaw, a handful of knocked-out teeth and akick smashed knee-cap (it was so much injured that it had to bereplaced with an artificial knee-cap). She said once: "Most people has never meet a genius. I have spent my life together with one and that was far from a fairy-tale".

Selected Novels
HMS Ulysses - 1955
South by Java Head - 1958
Night without End - 1960
Dark Crusader, The (Under pseudonym Ian Stuart) - 1961

Captain Cook - 1972
Circus - 1974
Golden Gate, The - 1976
Sea Witch - 1977

Goodbye California! - 1978
Athabasca - 1980
Air Force One Is Down (Compiled by John Denis) - 1981
Partisans - 1983

Six Complete Novels - 1983
Floodgate - 1984
San Andreas - 1985
Lonely Sea, The - 1985

Santorini - 1987
Red Alert (Compiled by Alastair MacNeill) - 1990
Time of the Assasins (Compiled by Alastair MacNeill) - 1991
Dead Halt (Compiled by Alastair MacNeill) - 1992

Golden Girl (Compiled by Simon Gandolfi) - 1992
Code Breaker (Compiled by Alastair MacNeill) - 1993
Golden Web (Compiled by Simon Gandolfi) - 1993
Golden Vengeance (Compiled by Simon Gandolfi) - 1994

Rendezvous (Rewritten by Alastair MacNeill) - 1995
Borrowed Time (written by Hugh Miller, based on MacLean's UNACO-novels) - 1997
Prime Target (written by Hugh Miller, based on MacLean's UNACO-novels) - 1997

Selected Films
Guns of Navarone, The - 1961
Secret Ways, The - 1961
Satan Bug, The - 1965
Ice Station Zebra - 1968

Where Eagles Dare - 1969
Puppet on a Chain - 1970
When Eight Bells Toll - 1971
Fear Is the Key - 1973

Caravan to VaccarŽs - 1974
Breakheart Pass - 1975
Golden Rendezvous - 1977
Force 10 from Navarone - 1978

Hostage Tower - 1980
Bear Island - 1980
River of Death - 1989
Death Train - 1993

Way to Dusty Death, The - 1995
Night Watch - 1995

User Comments:

adam larusic (2006-01-14)
This comment is aimed more to parlundquist's biography of sir alistair maclean,I beleave it to be incorrect and it's likely parlundquist hasn't spent a great deal of efford in his research.This reminds me of girlish child's tale,not taking into account of where he got his facts from????because we all know how ex's are so truthful and of course lacking drama.By the way what is the story on the poorRR little drama queen's past and the last few years of her life??
Srini (2006-10-11)
The negatives in his biography not withstanding, I have enjoyed many of books and movies many times over. His writing was inspiring and the style of writing was very detailed and the use of the English language was like a master painter given total freedom with his favourite brush all shades of colors he wants and canvas that pure and clean. The suspense in his tales was always edge of the seat stuff
Ernest (2006-12-28)
Where is one single fact about true cowardice?
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