Freedgood was born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York in 1913 and began writing at a young age. In the 1940s, he had several articles and short stories published in Cosmopolitan, Collier's, Esquire and other magazines while working full-time in the motion picture industry in New York City. He held public relations and publicity posts for United Artists, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and other companies for several years before focusing on his writing.
His novel The Wall-to-Wall Trap was published under his own name in 1957. He then began using the pen name John Godey—borrowed from the name of a 19th-century women's magazine—to differentiate his crime novels from his more serious writing.
As Godey, he achieved commercial success with the books A Thrill a Minute With Jack Albany, Never Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Kill Today and The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome. He saw his Jack Albany stories turned into the 1968 Walt Disney film Never a Dull Moment, starring Dick Van Dyke. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, his novel about the hijacking of a New York City Subway train, was a best seller in 1973 and was made into the 1974 movie starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, a 1998 TV-movie remake of the same title, and a 2009 theatrical-feature remake, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3.
He died April 16, 2006 in his home in West New York, NJ.
Published under his pen name John Godey unless otherwise noted.
|1947||Yankee Trader||Novel - historical fiction. Written with his brother Stanley under the pseudonym "Stanley Morton". Published by Sheridan House.|
|1947||The Gun and Mr. Smith||Novel. Published by Doubleday/Crime Club.|
|1948||The Blue Hour||Novel. Published by Doubleday/Crime Club.|
|1951||The Man in Question||Novel. Published by Doubleday/Crime Club.|
|1953||This Year's Death||Novel. Published by Doubleday/Crime Club.|
|1957||The Wall-to-Wall Trap||Novel. Written under his own name. Published by Simon & Schuster.|
|1959||The Clay Assassin||Novel. Published by T.V. Boardman-UK.|
|1960||The Fifth House||Novel. Published by T.V. Boardman-UK.|
|1967||A Thrill a Minute with Jack Albany||Novel. Character Jack Albany. Published by Simon & Schuster. Released as The Reluctant Assassin in 1966 by Robert Hale Ltd-UK.|
|1970||Never Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Kill Today||Novel. Character Jack Albany. Published by Random House.|
|1972||The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome||Novel. Published by Random House. Basis for the 1989 film Johnny Handsome.|
|1973||The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||Novel. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons. Filmed in 1974.|
|1974||The Crime of the Century and Other Misdemeanors: Recollections of Boyhood||Memoir (of Morton Freedgood under his pen name John Godey). Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.|
|1976||The Talisman||Novel. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.|
|1978||The Snake||Novel. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.|
|1981||Nella||Novel. Published by Delacorte Press.|
|1984||Fatal Beauty||Novel. Published by Atheneum.|
- "Morton Freedgood, 93, Author Who Specialized in Crime Fiction, Dies". New York Times. April 22, 2006. Retrieved 14 July 2015.