Author Herman Wouk, who penned several books including 1951's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Caine Mutiny" and "The Winds of War," has died, his agent confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday. He was 103.
Wouk's literary agent, Amy Rennert, told the AP the author died in his sleep early Friday at his home in Palm Springs, California.
Wouk spent 16 years writing his renowned two-part World War II epic "The Winds of War" (1971) and "War and Remembrance," (1978). The books were adapted for a pair of Emmy-Award winning television miniseries that aired in the 1980s on ABC. “The Winds of War” received some of the highest ratings in TV history and Wouk’s involvement covered everything from the script to commercial sponsors.
Wouk was born on May 27, 1915, in New York City. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants.
In his books, Wouk often featured Jews. “Marjorie Morningstar,” published in 1955, was one of the first million-selling novels about Jewish life, and two novels, “The Hope” and “The Glory,” were set in Israel.
Wouk got his start writing comedy in 1936, NPR reported. He wrote jokes and sketches for Fred Allen, a popular radio host at the time, until after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after that, according to NPR.
In his downtime, he wrote his first novel, "Aurora Dawn," which he completed after his discharge from the Navy in 1946. He followed the release with 1948's "City Boy."
In 1949, Wouk began working on "The Caine Mutiny," the classic Navy drama that made the unstable Captain Queeg, with the metal balls he rolls in his hand and his talk of stolen strawberries, a symbol of authority gone mad. A film adaptation, starring Humphrey Bogart, came out in 1954 and Wouk turned the courtroom scene into the play “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.” The book shot Wouk to international fame.
In 1945, Wouk married Betty Sarah Brown, who also served as his agent. They had three sons— Nathaniel, Joseph and their eldest, Abraham, who drowned in 1951.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.