Michael Herr

Michael David Herr[1] (April 13, 1940 – June 23, 2016) was an American writer and war correspondent, known as the author of Dispatches (1977), a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine (1967–1969) during the Vietnam War. The book was called the best "to have been written about the Vietnam War" by The New York Times Book Review. Novelist John le Carré called it "the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time." Herr later was credited with pioneering the literary genre of the nonfiction novel, along with authors such as Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Tom Wolfe.

Michael Herr
Born
Michael David Herr

13 April 1940
Died23 June 2016 (aged 76)
OccupationWriter, war correspondent
Notable work
Dispatches (1977)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Spouse(s)Valerie
RelativesJudy Bleyer, Amy Bleyer, Doran Kaufman

Life and career

Herr was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of a jeweler, and grew up in Syracuse, New York. His family was Jewish.[1] After working with Esquire in the 1960s, from 1971 to 1975 he published nothing. Then, in 1977, he went on the road with rock and roller Ted Nugent and wrote about the experience in a 1978 cover story for Crawdaddy magazine.[2] Also in 1977, he published Dispatches, upon which his reputation mostly rests.

Herr contributed to the narration for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979). He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Full Metal Jacket (1987) with director Stanley Kubrick and author Gustav Hasford. That film was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers and the screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Herr collaborated with Richard Stanley in writing the original screenplay for the 1996 film The Island of Dr. Moreau based on the H.G. Wells novel of the same name. However, Stanley claims the subsequent rewrites cost Herr his writing credit, omitting most of the material created by the two writers.

Herr wrote a pair of articles for Vanity Fair about Stanley Kubrick, which were later incorporated into the short book Kubrick (2000), a personal biography of the director. He declined to edit the script of Kubrick's last film Eyes Wide Shut (1999).[3]

Herr lived with his wife Valerie in Delhi, New York, until his death on June 23, 2016, at the age of 76.[4]

Publications

  • Dispatches (1977) ISBN 0-679-73525-9
  • The Big Room: Forty-Eight Portraits from the Golden Age (1987) (with Guy Peellaert) ISBN 0-671-63028-8 (stories about Hollywood personalities including Judy Garland, Howard Hughes, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Walter Winchell)
  • Walter Winchell: A Novel (1990) ISBN 0-679-73393-0 (biographical novel about the newsman Walter Winchell)[5]
  • Kubrick (Grove, 2000) ISBN 0-8021-3818-7 (based on essay for Vanity Fair)

References

  1. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (June 24, 2016). "Vietnam War reporter Michael Herr, who helped write 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Full Metal Jacket,' dies at 76". Washington Post.
  2. ^ "Rock Beat". Milwaukee Journal. March 22, 1978.
  3. ^ Herr, Michael (August 1999). "Kubrick". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on June 2, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  4. ^ Michael Herr Dies: Dispatches Author & Full Metal Jacket Co-Writer Was 76
  5. ^ Rascoe, Judith (May 20, 1990). "Review of Walter Winchell: A Novel by Michael Herr". NY Times.

External links

American Review (literary journal)

American Review was a literary journal published from 1967 to 1977 under editor Ted Solotaroff. It was initially called New American Review, published and distributed as a paperback book by the New American Library, but shortened its name to American Review its name when it moved to a different publisher in 1973.American Review printed traditional and experimental fiction, poetry, and nonfiction essays and journalism. It was unusual for the number of well-known and later-known writers it attracted from its very first issue. Its list of contributors includes Anna Akhmatova, Woody Allen, A. Alvarez, A. R. Ammons, Max Apple, John Ashbery, Russell Banks, Donald Barthelme, Marshall Berman, John Berryman, Jorge Luis Borges, Harold Brodkey, Robert Coover, George Dennison, E. L. Doctorow, Richard Eberhart, Stanley Elkin, Ralph Ellison, Leslie Epstein, William Gass, Richard Gilman, Allen Ginsberg, Albert Goldman, Günter Grass, Robert Graves, Peter Handke, Michael Herr, Richard Hugo, Stanley Kauffmann, Norman Mailer, Ian McEwan, James Merrill, W. S. Merwin, Leonard Michaels, Kate Millett, Conor Cruise O'Brien, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Sylvia Plath, J. F. Powers, V. S. Pritchett, Mordecai Richler, Theodore Roszak, Philip Roth, Lore Segal, Anne Sexton, Wilfrid Sheed, Susan Sontag, Gilbert Sorrentino, Robert Stone, James Welch, and Ellen Willis.Looking back on American Review, Vanity Fair's James Wolcott said the publication "started off stellar and never lost altitude, never peaked out, continuing to make literary news back when literary news didn't seem like an oxymoron, each issue bearing something eventful..." Slate's Gerald Goward called it "the greatest American literary magazine ever."

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American epic war film about the Vietnam War, directed, produced and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. It stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne and Dennis Hopper. The screenplay, co-written by Coppola and John Milius and narration written by Michael Herr, was loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. The setting was changed from late 19th-century Congo to the Vietnam War (1969–70). The film follows a river journey from South Vietnam into Cambodia undertaken by Captain Benjamin L. Willard (a character based on Conrad's Marlow and played by Sheen), who is on a secret mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz (Brando, with the character being based on Conrad's Mr. Kurtz), a renegade Army officer accused of murder and who is presumed insane.

Milius became interested in developing Heart of Darkness into a Vietnam War film. Coppola expressed interest and eventually decided to take on the project, with the filmmaker taking influence from Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972). Initially set to be a five month shoot, the film became noted for the problems encountered while making it for over a year, as chronicled in the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991). These problems included Brando arriving on the set overweight and completely unprepared, expensive sets being destroyed by severe weather and Sheen having a breakdown and suffering a near-fatal heart attack while on location. Problems continued after production as the release was postponed several times while Coppola edited over a million feet of film.Apocalypse Now was honored with the Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered unfinished before it was finally released on August 15, 1979 by United Artists. The film performed well at the box office, grossing $78 million domestically and going on to grossed over $150 million worldwide. Initial reviews were mixed; while Vittorio Storaro's cinematography was widely acclaimed, several critics found Coppola's handling of the story's major themes to be anticlimactic and intellectually disappointing. Apocalypse Now is today considered to be one of the greatest films ever made. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards at the 52nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Coppola), and Best Supporting Actor for Duvall, and went on to win for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. It ranked No. 14 in Sight & Sound's greatest films poll in 2012. In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

Bob Fosse

Robert Louis Fosse (June 23, 1927 – September 23, 1987) was an American dancer, musical-theatre choreographer, and theatre and film director. He is known for directing and choreographing musical works on stage and screen, including the stage musicals The Pajama Game (choreography) in 1954 and Chicago in 1975 and the film Cabaret in 1972.

He is closely associated with the distinctive style of his choreography, which includes turned-in knees and "jazz hands".

He was the only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year (1973). He was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning Best Director for Cabaret, and won a record eight Tonys for his choreography, as well as one for direction for Pippin.

Charles Chellapah

Charles Chellapah (1939 – 14 February 1966) was a Singaporean photojournalist of Indian origin who was killed on-assignment during the Vietnam War.

Charles Eggleston

Charles Richard Eggleston (November 1945 – May 6, 1968) was a photographer with United Press International who was killed in combat in Vietnam where he was covering the ongoing war.

Dana Stone

Dana Hazen Stone (April 18, 1939 – c. June 1971) was an American photo-journalist best known for his work for CBS, United Press International, and Associated Press during the Vietnam War.

Delhi (village), New York

Delhi ( DEL-hi) is a village in Delaware County, New York, United States. The population was 3,087 at the 2010 census. Delhi is the county seat of Delaware County. The accepted pronunciation is DEL-hy rather than Del-EE.

Delhi village is within the town of Delhi on Routes 10 and 28.

The State University of New York at Delhi, partially within the village limits, is located southwest of the town hall.

Dispatches (book)

Dispatches is a New Journalism book by Michael Herr that describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine. First published in 1977, Dispatches was one of the first pieces of American literature that portrayed the experiences of soldiers in the Vietnam War for American readers.

Featured in the book are fellow war correspondents Sean Flynn, Dana Stone, and Dale Dye, and photojournalist Tim Page.

Dispatches was reprinted in 2009 by Everyman's Library as a contemporary classic.

First Kill

First Kill is a 2001 Dutch documentary film that revolves around the psychology of war. Important turning points in the Vietnam War are used to illustrate the effect of war on body and mind. The documentary consists of interviews with Michael Herr and several Vietnam veterans. The depth of the interviews provides insight into the feelings that accompany violence, fear, hate, seduction and pleasure.

First Kill was directed by Coco Schrijber and produced by Lemming Film.

Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed, co-written, and produced by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio and Adam Baldwin. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979). The storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle to get through boot camp under their abusive drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon's Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The film's title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by soldiers. The film was released in the United States on June 26, 1987. It was the last of Kubrick's films to be released during his lifetime.

Full Metal Jacket received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Kubrick, Herr, and Hasford. In 2001, the American Film Institute placed it at No. 95 in their "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills" poll.

Full metal jacket bullet

A full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet is a small-arms projectile consisting of a soft core (often lead) encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel, or, less commonly, a steel alloy. A bullet jacket generally allows for higher muzzle velocities than bare lead without depositing significant amounts of metal in the bore. It also prevents damage to bores from steel or armor-piercing core materials. In military nomenclature, it is often labeled ball ammunition.

The bullet was invented in 1882 by Swiss Colonel Eduard Rubin while he was working for the Swiss Federal Ammunition Factory and Research Center, which developed ammunition for the Swiss military. The use of full metal jacketing in military ammunition came about in part because of the need for improved feeding characteristics in small arms that used internal mechanical manipulation of the cartridge in order to chamber rounds as opposed to externally hand-reloading single-shot firearms. The harder metal used in bullet jackets was less prone to deformation than softer exposed lead, which improved feeding. It is sometimes thought that military use of FMJ ammunition was the result of The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibiting the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body. However, jacketed bullets had been in use since at least 1882, over a decade prior to the Hague Convention.

John Sack

John Sack (March 24, 1930 – March 27, 2004) was an American literary journalist and war correspondent. He was the only journalist to cover each American war over half a century.

Julian Pettifer

Julian Pettifer OBE (born 21 July 1935) is an English television journalist.

He was President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is Vice President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB. He was voted BAFTA 'Reporter of the Year' for his coverage of the war in Vietnam in 1968.

Larry Burrows

Larry Burrows (born Henry Frank Leslie Burrows 29 May 1926 in London, died 10 February 1971 in Laos) was an English photojournalist best known for his pictures of the American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Prix Nadar for his posthumous book, Vietnam.

Peter Kalischer

Peter Kalischer (1915–1991) was an American journalist best known for his reporting of the early stages of the Vietnam War in the 1960s as a television correspondent for CBS News. He won the Overseas Press Club award in 1963 for his reporting during the Buddhist crisis that led to the fall of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. In 1968, while covering the Tet Offensive, he had dinner on the rooftop restaurant of the Caravelle Hotel with Walter Cronkite who was preparing a special report on the war and helped to convince him that the war could not be won militarily, that a stalemate was inevitable. From 1966 to 1978, Kalischer was the Paris correspondent and bureau chief for CBS News. He covered the Korean War, writing multiple articles about it.Kalischer later became a professor of communications at Loyola University, a position he held until 1982.

The Short-Timers

The Short-Timers is a 1979 semi-autobiographical novel by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gustav Hasford, about his experience in the Vietnam War. Hasford served as a combat correspondent with the 1st Marine Division during the Tet Offensive of 1968. As a military journalist, he wrote stories for Leatherneck Magazine, Pacific Stars and Stripes, and Sea Tiger. The novel was later adapted into the film Full Metal Jacket (1987) by Hasford, Michael Herr, and Stanley Kubrick.

In 1990, Hasford published the sequel The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam.

The two books were supposed to be part of a "Vietnam Trilogy", but Hasford died before writing the third installment.

Tim Page (photographer)

Tim Page (born 25 May 1944) is an English photographer who made his name during the Vietnam War and is now based in Brisbane, Australia.

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