Alfred Damon Runyon, 1880 - 1946

portrait of Damon Runyon


Born: 4 October 1880, Manhattan, Kansas
Died: 10 December 1946, New York City

Born Alfred Damon Runyan, he grew up in the Colorado town of Pueblo. At age fourteen he volunteered for the Spanish-American War and served in the Philippines. From Denver he covered Pancho Villa's forays along the Mexican border, an editor misspelled his last name Runyon and he never corrected it. He attempted to organize a baseball league in Colorado, failing that he quit drinking (for a dame) and moved to New York. He covered baseball and boxing for the New York American, where his first name was dropped by his editor. He made friends, and gambled with, a wide array of notables, including both Al Capone and William Randolph Hearst. Although he gave up drinking for his first wife, she died or alcohol-related health problems, and Runyon gambled and smoked heavily. He is best known for his short stories of the characters on Broadway, including the collection Guys and Dolls, the musical of that name was created from "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure". He died of throat cancer, the first telethon ever broadcast was hosted by Milton Berle to raise funds for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. After his death in 1946, legendary ace Eddie Rickenbacker buzzed Broadway, dumping Runyon's ashes over his favorite beat.

Biography from Wikipedia and Authors' Calendar

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