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'The writer other writers loved to read'
Brian Moore, author and screenwriter, dies at age 77
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Tuesday, January 12, 1999 2:08:40 PM
MALIBU, California (CNN) -- Brian Moore, an Irish-born author who traveled to Hollywood to work with director Alfred Hitchcock, died in California on Sunday. He was 77.
Moore's 20 novels and screenplays won him accolades from a wide range of contemporaries, including Joan Didion and Joyce Carol Oates. In 1990 he was nominated for the prestigious British literary award the Booker Prize for his work "Lies of Silence".
Moore died in Malibu of pulmonary complications following an illness, his spokeswoman, Patty Detroit, said Monday. His brother Seamus, who lives in Belfast, said he became ill around Christmas and his condition deteriorated early Monday.
"He died in hospital about 3 a.m. after taking ill some time during the night," he told The Irish News. "Paramedics came out to help him to breathe and found he wasn't doing well and took him to the local hospital."
Moore's first book, "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne" (1955), about a Belfast spinster's lonely downward spiral has been continuously in print.
'A professional writer'
Moore wrote a number of screenplays, including Hitchcock's 1966 film "Torn Curtain" and the CBS television film "Catholics." Among his own novels adapted for the screen were "The Luck of Ginger Coffey," "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne," "The Temptation of Eileen Hughes," "Cold Heaven" and "Black Robe."
"Brian, in every sense of the word was a professional writer, the writer other writers loved to read just to see how he did it," longtime friend and author John Gregory Dunne told the Los Angeles Times.
Oates once said Moore was a "supremely entertaining 'serious' writer."
No regrets about emigrating
Born August 25, 1921, in Belfast, Moore's surgeon father, James, married one of his nurses. Brian Moore was one of nine children and planned to follow in his father's footsteps.
But Moore abandoned medicine during World War II and joined the British Ministry of War Transport in North Africa, Italy and France. He left Belfast with the clothes on his back and a copy of James Joyce's "Ulysses."
He never returned to Ireland, emigrating to Canada after the war to work as a newspaper proofreader, reporter and rewrite man before turning to fiction. He lived in New York and moved to Los Angeles in 1966. Moore and his wife, Jean, lived in Malibu since.
Moore said that he had "hated Belfast" and had no regrets about emigrating. "Moore had strong left-wing political beliefs which led him to renounce Catholicism," according to The Irish News.
"I've been very lucky," Moore once told the Los Angeles Times. "I've always been known among literary people as a writer's writer. I've always been able to have my books published, writing exactly the book I wanted to write without any commercial consideration. And, ever since I started, I've always made a living purely from writing."
In addition to his wife, Moore is survived by a son, Michael.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed
to this report.
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