Michael Malone (author)

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Michael Malone
BornMichael Christopher Malone
November 22, 1942[1]
Durham, North Carolina, U.S.
DiedAugust 19, 2022(2022-08-19) (aged 79)
Clinton, Connecticut, U.S.
OccupationAuthor and television writer
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Harvard University
Notable worksOne Life to Live

Michael Christopher Malone (November 22, 1942 – August 19, 2022) was an American author and television writer. He was noted for his work on the ABC Daytime drama One Life to Live, as well as for his novels Handling Sin (1983), Foolscap (1991), and the murder mystery First Lady (2002).

Early life[edit]

Malone was born in Durham, North Carolina,[2] on November 22, 1942.[3][4] His father worked as a psychiatrist; his mother was a teacher who was deaf.[4] His family relocated to Atlanta when he was six years old.[2][5] He lived with his mother after his parents divorced.[4] He studied English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,[2] graduating in 1964. He then obtained a master's degree from that institution two years later.[4] Although he commenced a Doctor of Philosophy in English at Harvard University, he dropped out before finishing his thesis.[6]


Malone's first novel, Painting the Roses Red, was inspired in part by his new wife and released in 1975. He recounted that he had authored the book in order to put off writing his doctoral thesis.[4] He ultimately published 14 novels during his career.[2][6] One of these, Handling Sin (1983), retold Don Quixote with the Southern United States as its setting. Another book, Foolscap (1991), was about a university professor tasked with authoring an old playwright's biography, while First Lady, published in 2001, recounted a serial killer preying on women in a fictitious North Carolina town and became a bestseller.[4] Malone set many of his stories in Piedmont, including First Lady and the other Justin & Cuddy novels, in his region of North Carolina.[2]

Outside of writing books, Malone became best known for his stint writing the soap opera One Life to Live. He was the serial's head writer after being hired by Linda Gottlieb from 1991 to 1996 and garnered critical acclaim for his storylines, which included a tale involving the tight bond between an ostracized homosexual teenager and a preacher, the creation of villain/rapist Todd Manning and the character's gang rape of Marty Saybrooke, as well as the subsequent rape trial.[7][8] Entertainment Weekly wrote that OLTL was "airing some of the most literate drama ever to hit daytime – too good to be called 'soap opera.'"[9]

One Life to Live was averaging 5 million viewers when Malone left in 1996.[10] His next soap opera writing job was with Another World in 1997. He returned to write One Life to Live from 2003 to 2004. While writing One Life to Live, Malone wrote a novel called The Killing Club, which was tied into the show.[4] For months, viewers watched character Marcie Walsh (Kathy Brier) write the book. The book was published in February 2005 with the authors listed as Marcie Walsh and Michael Malone.[11] To explain this, Marcie said she took the book to "Professor Malone" at Llanview University, who helped her re-write it.[12] After Malone's departure from the show, Dena Higley continued this storyline, as a copycat killer murdered characters on the show exactly as had occurred in the book. In its first week of publication The Killing Club went to No. 16 on The New York Times Best Seller list for Hardback Fiction. It later rose to No. 11.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Malone was married to Maureen Quilligan, a professor of English at Duke University,[15] for 47 years until his death. They met while he was studying at Harvard. Together, they had one child (Maggie). They resided in Hillsborough, North Carolina, from 2000, while maintaining a second home in Connecticut.[2][4] Malone was a board member and a supporter of the Burwell School Historic Site.[16]

Malone died on August 19, 2022, at his home in Clinton, Connecticut.[2] He was 79, and suffered from pancreatic cancer for over a decade prior to his death.[4][6]

Writing credits[edit]

Another World[4]

  • Head writer: April 1997 – December 1997 (hired by Charlotte Savitz)

One Life to Live[4]

13 Bourbon Street

  • TV pilot (co-written with Josh Griffith & produced by Linda Gottlieb)[17]



  • (1975) Painting the Roses Red. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780394495989
  • (1976) The Delectable Mountains: Or, Entertaining Strangers. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-4022-0006-4.
  • (1980) Dingley Falls. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-4022-0007-2.
  • (1983) Handling Sin. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-756-7.
  • (1983) Uncivil Seasons. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-755-9.
  • (1989) Time's Witness. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-754-0.
  • (1991) Foolscap: Or, the Stages of Love. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-757-5.
  • (2001) First Lady. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-971-3.
  • (2002) Red Clay, Blue Cadillac: Stories of Twelve Southern Women. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-57071-824-5.
  • (2002) The Last Noel. Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN 1-4022-0147-8.
  • (2005) The Killing Club. Hyperion, ISBN 1-4013-0156-8. (co-credited with Marcie Walsh, based on a story by Josh Griffith)
  • (2009) "The Four Corners Of The Sky" Sourcebooks Landmark[18]

Short stories[edit]

  • "Red Clay" (can be found in Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, published by Houghton Mifflin)[19]

(Recipient of the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Short Story)[20][21]

  • "Blue Cadillac"[22]
  • "Murdered for Love"[23]



  1. ^ "Join Ancestry®". Ancestry.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Grubb, Tammy (August 21, 2022). "NC writer, advocate Michael Malone dies in Connecticut after battle with cancer". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  3. ^ Public Records Listings at Ancestry.com
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Smith, Harrison (August 22, 2022). "Michael Malone, wide-ranging novelist and TV writer, dies at 79". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  5. ^ Johnson, Maria C. (December 1, 2001). "All the Write Moves – After Long Separations, Writer Michael Malone has Returned to Two of his Loves: The Piedmont and the Novel". News & Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Kirch, Claire (August 23, 2022). "Writer Michael Malone, 80, Dies of Pancreatic Cancer". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  7. ^ Branco, Nelson (September 29, 2008). "FF: Soap Malfunction Currently in Progress OLTL: Raping Marty softly with his kiss". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  8. ^ Branco, Nelson (October 1, 2008). "Shame and Prejudice: Mishandling sin on 'OLTL'". TV Guide.
  9. ^ Krolldate=August 21, 2022, Dan J. "Emmy-winning One Life to Live head writer Michael Malone has died". Soap Central. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  10. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (April 14, 2011). "ABC kills long-running soaps 'All My Children,' 'One Life to Live'". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  11. ^ Walsh, Marcie; Malone, Michael (February 16, 2005). The Killing Club. Hyperion Books. ISBN 9781401301569.
  12. ^ Malone, Michael (March 29, 2011). "Fiction comes to life on daytime drama". BookPage. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Capps, Brooke (May 10, 2007). "How ABC's Daytime Soaps Have Broken Into Branded Merchandising". Ad Age. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (April 7, 2008). "The Book Is Real Enough. It's the Author That's Fake". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  15. ^ "Michael Malone". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  16. ^ Barham, Kelsey (May 11, 2016). "Burwell School historic site hosts 15th annual auction fundraiser". The News of Orange County. Hillsborough, North Carolina. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  17. ^ "Soap People". St. Petersburg Times. November 9, 1996. Archived from the original on August 24, 2022. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "Bookballoon.com – Michael Malone". Archived from the original on September 11, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  20. ^ "Michael Malone – Story in Literary Fiction".
  21. ^ Malone, Michael (2002). Fiction Book Review: RED CLAY, BLUE CADILLAC: Twelve Southern Women by Michael Malone, Author. Sourcebooks Landmark $15 (352p). Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-57071-824-3.
  22. ^ "Michael Malone - Directory of Writers - Poets & Writers". May 28, 1981.
  23. ^ Anglican.org Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "List of Winners at Writers Guild of America Awards With PM-Names". Associated Press. March 22, 1993. Retrieved August 24, 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Head writer of One Life to Live
(with Josh Griffith: January 1992 – September 1995)

August 1991 – March 1996
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head writer of One Life to Live
(with Josh Griffith: March 10, 2003 – March 22, 2004)

March 10, 2003 – November 24, 2004
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tom King
Craig Carlson
Head writer of Another World
April–December 1997
Succeeded by