G. Swarthout; Writer Known for Depiction of the West

From Associated Press

Glendon Swarthout, author of "Bless the Beasts and the Children" and other novels set largely in the West, has died at age 74.

Swarthout, who died at his home Wednesday, had suffered from emphysema for two years, said his son, Miles Swarthout.

A Michigan native who moved to Arizona in 1959, Swarthout wrote more than 20 novels, as well as numerous short stories, plays and film scripts. Movies based on his books include "Where the Boys Are" and "The Shootist."

"Whenever I have an idea for a book, I take two aspirin, drink lots of liquids, go to bed, and call my wife in the morning," he told an interviewer last year.

Swarthout was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1960; a gold medal from the National Society of Arts and Letters in 1972, and the Owen Wister Award, bestowed in 1991 by the Western Writers of America.

Swarthout's literary output was diverse. He wrote mysteries, Westerns, romances, comedies and children's books.

Swarthout's first novel, "Willow Run," was published in 1943 when he was 25. His most popular book, "Bless the Beasts and the Children," has sold more than 2 million copies since its debut in 1970.

In 1959, Swarthout left a teaching post at Michigan State University and moved to Arizona. His novel "The Cadillac Cowboys" was a protest against the Phoenix area's sprawling growth. He retired four years ago.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife and sometime co-author, Kathryn Swarthout.

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