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Jack Carr's take on novelist David Morrell, born April 24: 'Personal hero and literary icon'

Happy birthday to David Morrell, born on this date, April 24. 

A personal hero and a literary icon, David Morrell created the character Rambo in his 1972 debut novel, “First Blood.” Since its publication, it has never been out of print. 

If you have seen the movies but not read the book, you are in for a surprise. 

For more on David Morrell, Rambo and sage advice on writing, spend some time on David’s website.

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David, thank you for all you do for those of us new to the ranks and for sharing your gift with the world.

(Follow Jack Carr on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jackcarrusa.)

More on David Morrell

David Morrell is the award-winning author of “First Blood,” the novel in which Rambo was created, as Morrell’s own website details.

He was born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Sylvester Stallone smiles at 'Tulsa King' premiere, actor starred in host of Rambo films

On the big screen, Sylvester Stallone has famously played Rambo, the character created by Canadian-born novelist David Morrell; Morrell’s 1972 debut novel was “First Blood.” (Getty Images)

In 1960, at age 17, Morrell became a fan of the classic TV series, “Route 66,” about two young men in a Corvette convertible traveling the U.S. in search of America and themselves. 

“The scripts by Stirling Silliphant combined action with ideas and so impressed Morrell that he decided to become a writer,” his website reveals. 

“In 1966, the work of another writer (Hemingway scholar Philip Young) prompted Morrell to move to the United States, where he studied with Young at Penn State and received his M.A. and PhD in American literature.”

There are 18 million copies of his books in print. Morrell’s work has been translated into 30 languages.

The site also says, “There, he also met the esteemed science fiction author William Tenn (real name Philip Klass), who taught Morrell the basics of fiction writing.”

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The result of that was “First Blood,” “a groundbreaking novel in 1972 about a returned Vietnam veteran suffering from post-trauma stress disorder who comes into conflict with a small-town police chief and fights his own version of the Vietnam War.”

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone as Rambo

David Morrell, on the left, along with Sylvester Stallone as Rambo.  (David Morrell)

At the time of that book’s publication, Morrell was still a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa, his website notes. 

He taught American literature there from 1970 to 1986, simultaneously writing other novels, many of them international bestsellers, including the classic spy trilogy, “The Brotherhood of the Rose” (the basis for the only TV mini-series to premier after a Super Bowl), “The Fraternity of the Stone” and “The League of Night and Fog.”

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Morrell ultimately left academia behind to write full time.

David Morrell Jack Carr

Jack Carr (at right) pays tribute to novelist David Morrell, whose book “First Blood” has never been out of print — and whose work has been translated into 30 languages. Morrell is “a personal hero and a literary icon,” says Carr.  (David Morrell/Jack Carr)

Shortly afterward, Morrell’s 15-year-old son Matthew was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and died in 1987 — “a loss that haunts not only Morrell’s life but his work, as in his memoir about Matthew, ‘Fireflies,’ and his novel ‘Desperate Measures,’ whose main character lost a son,” as Morrell’s website notes.

Morrell is today the author of over 30 books, including “The Successful Novelist,” which explains what he learned across four decades as a writer. 

He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School for wilderness survival. 

Morrell is a co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization. 

He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School for wilderness survival as well as the G. Gordon Liddy Academy of Corporate Security. 

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He is also an honorary lifetime member of the Special Operations Association and the Association of Intelligence Officers.

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With 18 million copies of his books in print, his work has been translated into 30 languages.

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