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WOOLFOLK, William 1917-2003 (Winston Lyon)


See index for CA sketch: Born June 25, 1917, in Centermoriches, NY; died of congestive heart failure July 20, 2003, in Syracuse, NY. Author. Though he never won a major literary award, Woolfolk forged a successful writing career for himself that ranged from comic-book stories to novels and nonfiction. He graduated from New York University with a B.A. in 1938 and then worked for two years as a copywriter before becoming a freelance magazine writer. Serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he returned home to write for comic books during what is generally considered that medium's Gold Age. Woolfolk did not create any new comic-book heroes, but he was in high demand to write stories about Batman, Captain Marvel, Superman, and other popular characters. One claim to fame he had, however, was in inventing the expression "Holy Moley" for Captain Marvel. During this time, Woolfolk also founded and briefly ran O. W. Comics. He earned ten times the average comic-book writer's salary, but when the era of the comics waned, he decided to move on. He became a contributor of stories to magazines such as Scene and Shock during the 1950s and early 1960s; meanwhile, the 1950s also saw the beginning of his long career as a novelist beginning with 1953's The Naked Hunter. His My Name Is Morgan (1963) was a Literary Guild selection and was followed by Criminal Court (1966), which Woolfolk published under the pseudonym Winston Lyon. Woolfolk also wrote two novels under the Lyon pen name that were based on the Batman character: Batman vs. Three Villains of Doom (1966), which was based on the television series, and Batman vs. the Fearsome Foursome (1967), a novelization of a "Batman" film. Beginning in 1961, Woolfolk started writing for the television series The Defenders and is credited with penning two screenplays that were nominated for Emmy awards. He also continued to write novels, among them Maggie: A Love Story (1971), The President's Doctor (1975), The Sendai (1981), and his last novel, The Adam Project (1984). Woolfolk wrote two books about parenting, too: The Great American Birth Rite (1975), which he wrote with his wife, and Daddy's Little Girl: The Unspoken Bargain between Fathers and Their Daughters (1982), which he wrote with his daughter, Donna Woolfolk Cross. Although Woolfolk made a good living writing books, he is often best remembered for his early comic books; in 2002 Comic-Con International awarded him its Inkpot Award for his contributions to the genre.



Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2003, p. B17.

New York Times, August 9, 2003, p. A12.

Washington Post, August 11, 2003, p. B5.

Woolfolk, William 1917-2003 (Winston Lyon)

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