PASSINGS: Betty Sarah Wouk, Hazel Rowley

Betty Sarah Wouk

Wife and agent of ‘Caine Mutiny’ author

Betty Sarah Wouk, 90, the wife and literary agent of bestselling writer Herman Wouk, died March 17 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs after suffering a stroke, said Suzanne Stein of the BSW Literary Agency.

Born Betty Brown in Grangeville, Idaho, on Oct. 17, 1920, she graduated from USC and was a civilian employee of the Navy during World War II. She met her future husband when the ship he was serving on, the USS Zane, was undergoing repairs in San Pedro.


They married in 1945 and she changed her name to Betty Sarah Wouk after converting to Judaism.

He went on to write the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Caine Mutiny” and many other bestsellers, including “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.”

The couple had three sons, Abraham, Nathaniel and Joseph. Abraham drowned in a swimming pool accident in 1951.

She started the BSW Literary Agency in 1979. The Wouks moved to Palm Springs in the early 1980s.

Hazel Rowley

Author of bestselling biographies

Hazel Rowley, 59, a noted biographer whose recent bestselling book analyzed what she called “the bold and radical partnership” of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, died March 1, her family announced. She died in New York City of complications from a series of strokes following an undiagnosed infection.

Published in October, “Franklin and Eleanor” was a dual biography that called the former first couple “one of the most inspiring couples of all times.” It reached No. 18 on The Times’ bestseller list.

Her three other biographies were “Christina Stead” (1993), an Australian author known for “The Man Who Loved Children”; “Richard Wright” (2001), who wrote the novel “Native Son”; and “Tete-a-Tete: The Tumultuous Lives & Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre” (2005).

The Times’ 2005 review of “Tete-a-Tete” called the account of the relationship between the philosophers “the surprise page-turner of the season.”

Born Nov. 16, 1951, in London, Rowley grew up mainly in Australia, where her father taught medicine.

From Australia’s University of Adelaide, she earned an undergraduate degree in French and German literature and a doctorate in French literature.

Disliking the constraints of academic life, Rowley quit teaching literature at Deakin University in Australia and turned to writing. She moved to New York City in the 1990s.

Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports