Ken Purdy

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Ken Purdy
Born28 April 1913
Chicago, Illinois
DiedJune 7, 1972(1972-06-07) (aged 59)
OccupationWriter and editor

Kenneth William Purdy (April 28, 1913 – June 7, 1972)[1] was an American automotive writer and editor.

Personal history[edit]

Purdy was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1913, and raised mostly in Auburn, New York, by his mother after his father, songwriter William Thomas Purdy (1882–1918) (On, Wisconsin!) died when Ken was only six. Ken graduated in 1934 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Soon after he got his first newspaper job with the Athol, Massachusetts Daily News. From there he went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to the Chicago Radio Guide, to associate editor of Look, and to the United States Office of War Information as editor of Victory during World War II. He was an editor at Parade, Car and Driver, Argosy and True magazines between the late '40s and mid '50s. He wrote articles and fiction under the pseudonym Karl Prentiss.

Purdy's main interests were automobiles and the people who drove them. Among other works, he produced 35 short stories and scores of automotive pieces for Playboy. He won Playboy's annual writers' award three times. His Kings of the Road, published in 1949, is still a landmark.

Purdy died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 7, 1972, in Wilton, Connecticut.[2]

The International Motor Press Association presents the annual Ken W. Purdy Award [3] to a writer for an outstanding body of work or a specific piece of work that deals with the automotive world.


  1. ^ "Kenneth William Purdy".
  2. ^ "Looking Back at the Best of Car and Driver - 50th Anniversary - The 1950s". February 2005. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Ken W. Purdy Award".

External links[edit]