‘Green Berets’ author also wrote ‘French Connection’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Robin Moore, a nonfiction author best known for writing “The French Connection” and “The Green Berets,” has died after a long illness. He was 82.

Moore died Thursday at a hospital in southwestern Kentucky, Dennis Monroe of Lamb Funeral Home told the Associated Press.

Born Robert L. Moore Jr., he wrote several books under the pen name Robin Moore.

“The French Connection,” published in 1969, was about a New York drug bust. It inspired a 1971 film that won five Academy Awards, including best picture.


“The Green Berets,” published in 1965, became a bestseller and was made into a movie starring John Wayne in 1968.

Moore also co-wrote with the late singer Barry Sadler “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” which became the signature song of the Special Forces unit.

Moore was born Oct. 31, 1925, in Concord, Mass., the son of Sheraton Hotels founder Robert Lowell Moore. He flew combat missions with the Army Air Forces during World War II, then received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1949.

There he struck up a friendship with classmate Robert F. Kennedy. In the early 1960s, when Moore was interested in writing a book about the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the attorney general helped Moore get clearance as a civilian to undergo the unit’s grueling training at Ft. Benning, Ga., and Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Moore spent time in Vietnam with the Special Forces to gather material for the book, and his connection with the Green Berets endured after the book was written.

In 2005 he and his wife, Helen, moved to Hopkinsville, Ky., which borders Ft. Campbell, the sprawling Army post that is headquarters to a Green Beret group.


Maj. Gen. Gary L. Harrell, deputy commander of the Army’s Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg, called Moore a “devoted advocate” for the Special Forces and said his writings became textbooks for the Army’s unconventional forces.

“They were both educational and inspirational and introduced the world to the Green Berets,” Harrell said in a statement posted Friday on an Army Special Forces website.

“He will be missed.”

Moore’s other books included “The Happy Hooker” (1972), which he co-wrote with infamous madam Xaviera Hollander. More recently he wrote “The Hunt for Bin Laden” (2003) and “Hunting Down Saddam” (2004).

In 1986, Moore pleaded guilty to selling fraudulent literary tax shelters. The government charged Moore with publishing books and selling rights to promoters and investors at inflated prices based on arbitrary and unrealistic values.

A complete list of Moore’s survivors was not available Friday.