Dufty, William (F.) 1916-2002

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DUFTY, William (F.) 1916-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Some sources cite full name as Christopher William Dufty; born February 2, 1916, in Merrill, MI; died of complications from cancer, June 28, 2002, in Birmingham, MI. Journalist, editor, speech writer, screenwriter, author, and ghostwriter. His skillful navigation along a life-path strewn with fortunate circumstances led Dufty from a reporter's beat at the New York Post all the way to Hollywood. It was his first wife, Maely Bartholomew, who introduced Dufty to singer Billie Holiday in New York City. Thus began a close friendship that would last until Holiday's death in 1959. Dufty coauthored Holiday's popular autobiography Lady Sings the Blues, which was later adapted as a screenplay starring Diana Ross. Some years later in Paris, Dufty encountered author George Ohsawa, who wrote about the relationship between food, meditation, and spirituality. In 1965 Dufty produced an English-language edition of Ohsawa's writings titled You Are All Sanpaku. The book has been described by some as a cult classic, and after its publication Dufty was credited with introducing American readers to the macrobiotic diet. In the late 1960s Dufty attended a conference on the relationship between food and cancer, and there met silent film star Gloria Swanson, who would later become his second wife. Swanson warned Dufty of the dangers of a sugar-laden diet, and in 1975 he published his second book on nutrition: Sugar Blues. The publication of Sugar Blues led to a reunion with Swanson, and they were married in 1976. Dufty remained devoted to the actress for the rest of her life, assisting her in the composition of her autobiography, Swanson on Swanson. Dufty assisted many other celebrities with their memoirs, and it is estimated that he was the ghostwriter of some forty books during his lifetime. He was also a screenwriter, a speech writer for politicians and trade union officials, an editor, and a freelance writer. Dufty's investigative reporting earned him a Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild and a George Polk Memorial Award from Long Island University.



Chicago Tribune, July 4, 2002, pp. 2-8.

Los Angeles Times, July 4, 2002, obituary by Myrna Oliver, p. B14.

New York Times, July 6, 2002, p. A11.

Times (London, England), August 2, 2002. Washington Post, July 3, 2002, p. B6.