Jack D. Hunter, 87; wrote 'Blue Max'
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Author Jack D. Hunter, whose World War I aviation novel "The Blue Max" was made into a film in the 1960s, has died. He was 87.
The Florida Times-Union, where Mr. Hunter had worked as a writing coach, said he died of cancer Monday in St. Augustine.
"The Blue Max," published in 1964, was his first novel. It was about a German infantry corporal who joins that country's air corps. He sets out to shoot down 20 enemy planes and win its highest honor, nicknamed "The Blue Max." The book was made into a 1966 movie starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress.
The New York Times review of "The Blue Max" from March 1964 called the work a "briskly interesting first novel."
"Jack D. Hunter, who served as an American agent behind the German lines in World War II, writes with impressive authority about Germans and with absolutely astounding authority about the combat airplanes of World War I," the review stated. "His story moves fast and includes much tersely eloquent conversation."
Mr. Hunter wrote 16 more novels and was honored as a "Literary Legend" by the Florida Heritage Book Festival. His final novel, "The Ace," about American pilots in World War I was published last fall.
His own dreams of flying were thwarted because he was colorblind. But his fluency in German led the US Army to send him to postwar Germany as a counterintelligence agent, an experience that became the basis of his second novel, "The Expendable Spy."
After military service, he worked in Wilmington, Del., as a newspaper and radio reporter.
In 1961, the year he turned 40, he picked up a pen and started writing.