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- Created 2012-03-03
Alfred Damon Runyon
(October 4, 1880 – December 10, 1946) was an American newspaperman and author.
He was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of
in New York City that grew out of the
era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the
. The adjective "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character as well as to the type of situations and dialog that Runyon depicted. He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters, few of whom go by
names, preferring instead colorful monikers such as "Nathan Detroit," "Benny Southstreet," "Big Jule," "Harry the Horse," "Good Time Charley," "Dave the Dude," or "The Seldom Seen Kid. " His distinctive vernacular style is known as "Runyonese": a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of
. He is credited with coining the phrase "
", a term now used in British English to describe an upper-class, loud-mouthed, arrogant twit.
Runyon's fictional world is also known to the general public through the musical
Guys and Dolls
based on two of his stories, "
The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown
" and "
". The musical additionally borrows characters and story elements from a few other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick The Winner. " The film
Little Miss Marker
(and its remake,
) grew from his short story of the same name.
Runyon was also a newspaperman. He wrote the lead article for
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
's Presidential inauguration in 1933.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 11 December), licensed under
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National Baseball Hall of Fame - 1967 J. G. Taylor Spink Award Winner
''Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Broadway Theater Service
Damon Runyon in 2011
''Booknotes'' interview with Jimmy Breslin on ''Damon Runyon: A Life'', December 29, 1991.
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