Hargrove, (Edward Thomas) Marion (Lawton, Jr.) 1919-2003

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HARGROVE, (Edward Thomas) Marion (Lawton, Jr.) 1919-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born October 13, 1919, in Mount Olive, NC; died of complications from pneumonia August 23, 2003, in Long Beach, CA. Journalist and author. Hargrove is best remembered as the author of the humorous "Private Hargrove" books that were popular during and after World War II. He began his career as a journalist while still in high school, working part time for the Charlotte News. Always a rather contrary person, he was unablet to graduate from high school after refusing to take a test in geometry. Nevertheless, the Charlotte News hired him to work as a feature editor and columnist. Hargrove was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941, and it was there that his unwillingness to be the perfect soldier ran him into some trouble with his sergeants; this later became material for his books. In between stints on KP (Kitchen Police) that he was assigned as punishment, Hargrove managed to write humorous articles about his life at Fort Bragg and submitted them to his old newspaper. Then Hargrove met writer Maxwell Anderson, who was at the army post doing research for a play, and showed him his articles. Anderson liked them, and helped the young army private submit them to a publisher. They were published in 1942 as See Here, Private Hargrove, a collection that combines humor with patriotism and which was perfect for American audiences worried about the war. It became an instant bestseller, selling over two million copies, and made Hargrove famous. The Army then assigned him to write for Yank in New York City, where he remained until 1945, while also publishing the sequel to his first book, What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1944). Both books were adapted as movies produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Robert Walker. After leaving the army as a sergeant in 1945, Hargrove started on the lecture circuit, taking up a couple of causes in particular: the need to reform the military court martial system and to improve living conditions for enlisted men. Because of these stands, he was sometimes attacked by critics who labeled him a communist, an accusation he always vehemently denied. Hargrove continued his career as a writer, too, penning scripts for the television series Maverick during the 1950s, writing the movie adaptation of the musical The Music Man, contributing to the periodical Argosy, and writing two novels: Something's Got to Give (1948) and The Girl He Left Behind (1956), the latter of which was also adapted to the silver screen. Later on in his career, Hargrove wrote scripts for the popular television series I Spy and The Waltons.



Chicago Tribune, August 30, 2003, section 2, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, August 29, 2003, p. B12.

New York Times, August 28, 2003, p. A27.

Washington Post, August 29, 2003, p. B6.