Top-Selling Author Arthur Hailey Dies in Bahamas
NASSAU, Bahamas (Reuters) – Top-selling British author Arthur Hailey, whose novels sold 170 million copies around the world, died in his sleep at his Bahamas home, his wife said on Thursday. He was 84.
The author of several bestsellers that became blockbuster movies, like “Airport” and “Hotel,” had been ailing since suffering a stroke two months ago. But he had enjoyed dinner with two of his six children just a few hours before he died.
“He had a wonderful life. His greatest ambition was to see his name on a book and he certainly achieved that,” said his wife Sheila.
Born in Luton, England, in 1920 as the only child of working class parents, Hailey began writing after World War II, when a meal served on a DC-4 flight triggered a story idea that was to propel him to fortune.
He began to wonder what would happen if the flight crew went down with food poisoning and penned his story “Flight Into Danger” — the first of his successful works.
Hollywood producers bought several of his books and he flirted with script writing himself before deciding that novels were his forte. He was known for his intricate research and wanted his readers to be both entertained and informed.
He went on to see his books published in 38 languages in 40 countries.
“Wheels,” “The Moneychangers” and “Strong Medicine,” were some of his other novels that were made into movies.
Hailey emigrated from Britain to Canada after the war and worked in marketing and public relations before launching his literary career.
It took him about three years to complete each book. After publishing “Detective” in 1997, when he was 77 years old, he decided to retire.
He and his wife lived at Lyford Cay, Nassau, for more than 40 years.
Hailey was never influenced by critics or literary awards. During his career, he chiseled out just 600 words a day. “I have never been able to write quickly or easily. I am too self-critical for that. I am never satisfied,” he once said.