Richard Hooker (author)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from H. Richard Hornberger)
Jump to: navigation, search
Richard Hooker
Richard Hornberger at the original Swamp.jpg
Richard Hooker at the original Swamp in Korea
Born H. Richard Hornberger
(1924-02-01)February 1, 1924
Trenton, New Jersey, United States
Died November 4, 1997(1997-11-04) (aged 73)
Waterville, Maine
Cause of death
Leukemia
Resting place
Hillside Cemetery
Bremen, Maine
Nationality American
Other names Richard Hooker
Education Peddie School
Alma mater Bowdoin College
Cornell Medical School
Occupation Author
Surgeon
Known for M*A*S*H
Spouse(s) Priscilla Storer
(1923-2009)
Children 4
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit Medical Corps
Battles/wars Korean War

H. Richard Hornberger (February 1, 1924 – November 4, 1997) was an American writer and surgeon, born in Trenton, New Jersey, who wrote under the pseudonym Richard Hooker. His most famous work was his novel MASH (1968), based on his experiences during the Korean War and written in collaboration with W. C. Heinz. It was later used as the basis for a critically and commercially successful movie (1970) and television series (1972–1983).

Education and military experience[edit]

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Hornberger attended the Peddie School in Hightstown.[1] He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he was an active member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. He went to Cornell Medical School and after graduation, became a physician for the United States Army during the Korean War.

After the war, Hornberger worked for the Veterans Administration, qualified for his surgical boards, and went into private practice. He settled near Waterville, Maine.

Writing career[edit]

His experiences at the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital were the background for his novel MASH (1968), which he worked on for eleven years. MASH was rejected by many publishers. He worked with the famed sportswriter, W.C. Heinz, to revise it. A year later, the book was acquired by William Morrow and Company.[2]

Published under Hornberger's pseudonym, Richard Hooker, the novel was highly successful.

Adaptations[edit]

MASH was adapted as a film by the same name, directed by Robert Altman and released in 1970. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

A TV series was developed that debuted in 1972 and ran for eleven seasons. Hornberger reportedly did not like Alan Alda's portrayal of Hawkeye in the TV series.[3] Hornberger was said[weasel words] to have viewed the Robert Altman film many times, in which Pierce was played by Donald Sutherland.

According to John Baxter in A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict, Hornberger "was so furious at having sold the film rights for only a few hundred dollars that he never again signed a copy of the book."

Sequels[edit]

Hornberger wrote the sequels to MASH, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine (1972) and M*A*S*H Mania (1977), neither of which enjoyed the commercial success of the original. While MASH was a fairly faithful reflection of Hornberger's service in Korea, his sequels, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine and M*A*S*H Mania, were diverse representations of the "Swamp Gang's" post-Korea activities in the fictional town of Spruce Harbor, Maine, from 1953 to the 1970s. There were efforts[weasel words] to adapt M*A*S*H Goes to Maine into a film. His portrayals of characters were independent of those developed in the film and TV adaptations.

The sequels are characterised by gentle humour, stereotypical local characters, and a nostalgic look at Maine and its people through Hornberger's eyes. Throughout, the "Swamp Gang" prospers, gets its own way most of the time, and generally become more conservative as the years pass. The men play golf and are sometimes thorns in the side of "summer complaints" and the local hierarchy.[citation needed]

Hornberger's departure from the franchise[edit]

A series of books were published under Hooker's name but ghostwritten by William E. Butterworth. The characters travel to Moscow, New Orleans, San Francisco, Paris, etc. These were hastily written to capitalize on the TV show's popularity and were of dubious literary merit. The action was transposed to the 1970s so that people such as Henry Kissinger could be lampooned, but this would have made some of the characters quite old, if the descriptions in the first book were to be believed. For instance, Hot Lips would have been in her 60s, having been described as "fortyish" in the first novel.

After the success of his book and its screen adaptations, Hornberger continued to practice as a surgeon in Waterville until his retirement in 1988. He died at the age of 73 on November 4, 1997 of leukemia.

Published works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff. Richard Hornberger (Obituary), Variety (magazine), November 20, 1997, accessed February 27, 2011. "But in an interview last year with the Peddie News, the student newspaper of his prep school in New Jersey, Hornberger said he couldn't understand why the Robert Altman-directed film and the TV series were assailed for anti-war themes during the Vietnam War."
  2. ^ "H. Richard Hornberger, 73, Surgeon Behind 'M*A*S*H". The New York Times. November 7, 1997. 
  3. ^ Literary Encyclopedia

External links[edit]