This blog is dedicated to the preservation, investigation and all things related to European films and personnel involved with the Western genre. Tom B.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Dollar Books part III - Brian Fox
Dollar author Brian Fox was actually born Willis Todhunter Ballard on December 13, 1903 in Cleveland, Ohio. After trying to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an electrical engineer. He realized he did not like working for anyone and found himself quickly fired from every job he took. He found he had a way with words and so he took jobs as a staff writer for Warner Brothers and Columbia in the early 1920s. Often going uncredited and going nowhere he began his writing career in 1927 and since then produced over 100 novels and over 50 movie and television screenplays and stories. He wrote over 1000 short stories and novelettes which appeared in pulp magazines and elite publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, This Week and McCalls. Known for his Westerns and mystery novels, he was a major crime writer for Black Mask creating the character Bill Lennox, with a long, prolific career, often fast, sometimes proto-hardboiled, frequently complicated, usually slick and with human warmth. After World War II he turned to writing western novels exclusively and turned out an amazing 78 books. He was past vice-president of the Western Writers of America. He never won any MWA award, although he did capture the 1965 Western Writers of America Spur Award for his novel ‘Gold in California’ (1965). In the 1970s he retired to Florida and passed away on December 27, 1980 in Mt. Dora, Florida. Ballard used a number of aliases such as Brian Agar, P D Ballard, W.T. Ballard, Parker Bonner, Sam Bowie, Walt Bruce, Hunter D'Allard, Brian Fox, John Grange, Harrison Hunt (with Norbert Davis), John Hunter, Neil MacNeil, Clint Reno, John Shepherd, Jack Slade, Clay Turner. As Brian Fox he turned out the Dollar book ‘A Dollar to Die For’.
Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1946 I have a BA degree in American History from Cal St. Northridge. I've been researching the American West and western films since the early 1980s and visiting filming sites in Spain and the U.S.A. Elected a member of the Spaghetti Western Hall of Fame 2010.