Karp, Marshall 1942- (Marshall Warren Karp)

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Karp, Marshall 1942- (Marshall Warren Karp)


Born June 4, 1942, in New York, NY; son of Benjamin and Beatrice Karp; married Emily Shwartz, November 9, 1969; children: Adam, Sarah. Education: Rutgers University, B.A., 1963.


Home—New York, NY.


Prentice-Hall, New York, NY, direct mail copywriter, 1963-65; Warren, Muller, Dolobowsky, New York, NY, copywriter, 1965-66; DKG Inc., New York, NY, vice president and associate creative director, 1967-72; The Marschalk Co., Inc., New York, NY, senior vice president and associate creative director, 1972-77, executive vice president and creative director, 1977-87; freelance television scriptwriter in New York, NY, 1986; Mesa Films, Inc., New York, NY, president, 1987; The International Team McCann Erickson Worldwide, New York, NY, executive vice president and creative director, 1993; McCann Erickson Interactive, New York, NY, executive vice president and executive creative director, 1994-95; Compelling Content, Inc. (Web site design company), New York, NY, president, 1994-2000. Military service: Served in the National Guard; stationed in Fort Leonard, MO.


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Writers Guild of America, Dramatists Guild, Friars Club.


Squabbles: A Comedy in Two Acts (first produced in Kansas City, MO, 1982), Samuel French (New York, NY), 1983.

(And co-creator) Melba (television series), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1986.

(And producer and creator) Everything's Relative (television series) Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1987.

(And producer) Amen (television series), 1988-1990.

Marvin: Baby of the Year, 1989.

(And co-executive producer) Working It Out, 1990.

(And co-executive producer) Baby Talk, 1991.

(And associate producer) Just Looking, Sony Classic Pictures, 1999.

The Rabbit Factory (mystery novel), MacAdam/Cage (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

Blood Thirsty: A Lomax and Biggs Mystery (mystery novel), MacAdam Cage (San Francisco, CA), 2007.


When television writer, director, and producer Marshall Karp was in high school, one of his English teachers indicated that he had an aptitude for writing and suggested he consider it as a career. Knowing his parents expected him to be more practical, Karp applied instead to Rutgers University to study biology, with the intention of going on to dental school. Unfortunately, his writing aptitude did not extend to science and he failed his biology classes. Ultimately he graduated with a degree in English, but his career plans were put on hold because of the Vietnam War. Knowing he was likely to be drafted, he joined the National Guard rather than risk being sent off to fight in the jungle. His served for six months, most of which was spent in Missouri. The Guard did nothing to diminish his interest in writing, and so upon completion of his active duty, Karp decided to try a career in advertising. He held an array of jobs, working his way up the creative ladder and writing commercials and direct-mail copy. Early on, he had success with two major ad campaigns that went on to win a number of awards. The first, for Mutual of New York Life Insurance, features a still-unknown John Travolta in one of the spots. The second was the memorable "Thank You, Paine Webber" series of commercials, that made the financial advisor a familiar name across the country. Eventually, Karp was promoted to the executive level, which meant he no longer wrote on a regular basis, but merely supervised others.

Though he was successful at his work, Karp missed writing. He began working on his own projects at night. His play Squabbles: A Comedy in Two Acts was a result of his nocturnal scribbling. In 1982 it was produced for the first time at a dinner theater in Kansas City, Missouri. From there it went through some revisions and was produced at the American Stage Festival in New Hampshire. Eventually, it was published by noted drama publisher Samuel French.

Squabbles opened doors for Karp. Several studio executives in Hollywood had read the play, and suddenly he was invited to write for television. Though he continued to work in advertising, Karp began to freelance as a scriptwriter. He wrote a few pilot scripts, one of which got picked up by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Then, in 1987, when a second premise got picked up, Karp decided to take a chance on television and quit his advertising job. He ended up the head writer and producer of Everything's Relative, which starred Jason Alexander. Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off; the show was canceled after a single season. Karp gave Hollywood a few more tries, but he also moved back to New York and his advertising career.

Karp decided to take advantage of the fledgling Internet and opened an Internet advertising agency, Compelling Content. He focused on designing and marketing Web sites for major corporations, and within five years was so successful that another firm bought him out. A year later, however, they let him go. Karp's firing happened to coincide with the release of his film Just Looking. Rather than find another advertising job, he decided to take time off to write a novel. The Rabbit Factory, his first book, was published in 2006.

The Rabbit Factory is the story of a pair of Los Angeles homicide cops, Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs, who find themselves looking into the murder of an actor who played a giant rabbit as the star attraction at an area amusement park. The park itself is owned by powerful Lamaar Studios, and the studio cannot afford for the murder to affect business or bring them any bad publicity. Lomax and Biggs are forced to work through the studio's perky public relations director, Amy Cheever, but even she cannot deflect their attention when there is a second murder. Allison Block, reviewing Karp's debut for Booklist, found the novel "deftly plotted and deliciously askew." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that the book is "amusing, but the comedy never overshadows this smart, many-layered thriller."

Karp returns with another adventure for Lomax and Biggs in Blood Thirsty: A Lomax and Biggs Mystery. The cops are excited to be in negotiations with bigtime producer Barry Gerber, who might be interested in making one of their more intriguing cases into a film. Negotiations are cut short, however, when Gerber turns up dead in a garbage can, his blood drained. Lomax and Biggs set aside their Hollywood dreams and instead set out to find his killer. The situation heats up further when Gerber's last leading man is kidnapped, and his disappearance appears in some way connected to Gerber's death. Norah Piehl, in a review for Bookreporter.com, dubbed the book "worthwhile as much for the repartee between its main characters as it is for its mystery plot."



Booklist, April 1, 2006, Allison Block, review of The Rabbit Factory, p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of The Rabbit Factory, p. 314.

New York Times, April 27, 1994, "Marshall Karp," p. 17; December 22, 1994, "Marshall Karp," p. 17.

Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2006, review of The Rabbit Factory, p. 37; March 26, 2007, review of Blood Thirsty: A Lomax and Biggs Mystery, p. 70.


Bookbag,http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/ (January 10, 2008), John Lloyd, review of The Rabbit Factory.

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (January 10, 2008), Norah Piehl, review of Blood Thirsty.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (January 10, 2008), list of Marshall Karp's television credits.

Lomax and Biggs Home Page,http://lomaxandbiggs.com (January 10, 2008).

Mostly Fiction,http://www.mostlyfiction.com/ (May 1, 2006), Jana L. Perskie, review of The Rabbit Factory.

Spinetingler Blog,http://spinetinglermagazine.blogspot.com/ (November 7, 2007), K. Robert Einarson, review of Blood Thirsty.

Spinetingler Online,http://www.spinetinglermagazine.com/ (January 10, 2008), Cornelia Read, "Marshall Karp Rules."