American writer Winston Groom, author of the novel ‘Forrest Gump’, popularized for its film adaptation, He passed away this Friday at the age of 77, as announced on Facebook by Karin Wilson, the mayor of the city of Fairhope (Alabama), the city in which the author lived.
“It is with great sadness that I report the passing of our dear friend Winston Groom. The City of Fairhope has lost an iconic author,” said Wilson. The Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, has also joined the messages of condolences through a statement that he has shared on his Twitter account.
“Saddened to learn that Alabama has lost one of our most talented writers“While he will be remembered for the creation of ‘Forrest Gump,’ Winston Groom was a talented journalist and noted author on American history. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family,” wrote Ivey.
Although Groom was born in Washington DC (1943), it was in Mobile (Alabama) where he spent most of his life. The writer’s first ambition was to become a lawyerLike his father, however, while working as a literary editor at the University of Alabama (from which he graduated in 1965) he decided to change course and become a writer.
Shortly after finishing university he was called up. He served in the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division from 1965 to 1969 and his service included a tour of Vietnam, an experience he would include in his novel ‘Forrest Gump’.
He wrote 16 books, fiction and non-fiction. For ‘Conversations with the Enemy’, about an American prisoner of war in Vietnam accused of collaboration, he was a finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize.
Although, without a doubt, the author’s best known and most famous work was ‘Forrest Gump’, published in 1986. The book tells the story of an Alabama native who, despite a mild intellectual disability, becomes actor of some of the most relevant episodes in US history in the second half of the 20th century.
Part of the fault of that fame is the film of the same name directed by Robert Zemeckis in 1994 and starring Tom Hanks in the iconic role of Gump, accompanied by Robin Wright, Sally Field and Gary Sinise. The film, which won six Oscars, propelled the book (despite the fact that the screenplay differs from the novel) to become a “best seller.”
However, Paramount Pictures deflated the figures of the good reception that the movie so that Groom received no benefit, only the $ 350,000 (about 295,188 euros) for copyright, according to the author in a lawsuit against the production company, a legal process of which the result was not made public.
Despite everything, Groom continued to write and in his later years focused on works of history. In 2004, he released ‘1942: The Year That Tested Men’s Souls’, which chronicles the first year of America’s involvement in World War II; and after a break of about 20 years he wrote ‘El paso’ (2016).