Donald Eugene "Don" Pendleton

Don Pendleton, Author
Photo ©1987 by Linda Pendleton

Pendleton, Don (Donald Eugene), (1927-1995) author, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, December 12, 1927, son of Louis Thomas Pendleton (1899-1969) and Drucy Valentine, and a direct descendant of Philip and Isabella (Hurt) Pendleton, who came from Norwich, England, to settle in Virginia in 1674. Don's grandfather was Edmund Jackson Pendleton (1858-1929), son of Andrew Jackson Pendleton (1812–), one of eight children born to Benjamin Pendleton (1784-1860) and Ann Elkins-Brown.

During World War II, shortly before his fifteenth birthday, Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Radioman First Class until November of 1947. He served in all of the war theatres, receiving various medals including the naval commendation medal; helped set up the postwar air traffic control networks in the Pacific, (in a joint civil/military project). He received his GED certificate of high school equivalency while in the Navy in 1947. In 1952, in the midst of the Korean conflict, Don returned to active Naval service. His skill as a radioman during World War II lead him to the railroad after the war where he was employed as a telegrapher for Southern Pacific Railroad until 1957. For the next four years, he worked for the CAA/FAA as an air traffic control specialist. In 1961, his career turned toward aerospace engineering where he served in management positions during Martin-Murietta's Titan ICBM programs, and later as an engineering administrator in NASA's Apollo Moonshot program.

He began writing in 1957 and his first short story was published that year, followed by a first novel in 1961. But it was not until 1967, at the age of forty, that his attention turned to full-time writing. After producing a number of short stories, science fiction and mystery novels, he launched, in 1969, the phenomenal Executioner Series of novels, which quickly emerged as the original, definitive Action/Adventure series. The first Executioner novel, War Against the Mafia, was followed by an additional thirty-seven sequels during the ensuing twelve years. The Executioner: Mack Bolan, has been published around the world in more than twenty-five languages with close to two hundred million copies in print. The Executioner had been serialized in magazines and Comic Books. Dozen of imitators, inspired by Pendleton's success, arose during the early 1970's to constitute a new literary genre which soon inspired action/adventure in other areas of entertainment. In 1980, Don franchised his Executioner characters to Harlequin's Worldwide Library of Toronto and their team of writers have produced close to four hundred novels based on Don's original works.

Don Pendleton is acknowledged as the "father of the modern Action/Adventure novel."  His Mack Bolan,The Executioner, theme is "Live Large" and recently the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volune II (H-O) gives derivation credit for "live large" to Don Pendleton and his Executioner Series.

Don's more recent works include the Joe Copp, Private Eye series of six novels, and the six Ashton Ford, Psychic Detective, mystery novels.

In addition to being a novelist, Don was a poet, a screenwriter, essayist and metaphysical scholar. In 1990, he turned to non-fiction with the publication of To Dance With Angels, written with his wife, Linda Pendleton. In 1992, Don and Linda adapted and scripted his first Executioner novel, War Against the Mafia to graphic comic book format, and in 1996, following Don's death, Linda adapted and scripted the second Executioner novel, Death Squad, to comic book format.

Don was a member of the Author's Guild, Inc.; The Author's League; The Writer's Guild of America, West; a past West Coast Director of the Mystery Writer's of America; and a former member of the International Platform Association. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award, 1992, presented by Diamond distributors, a leading Comic Book distributors. He was a popular speaker on high school and college campuses and at writers' seminars and symposiums. Several of his earlier books were written under the pseudonyms, Dan Britain and Stephan Gregory. He published more than one hundred twenty five books is his long career, and many of those books enjoyed foreign language publication.

Don was the father of four sons and two daughters by his first marriage to Marjorie (Williamson) Hansen. He married Linda (Abrams) Stephens October 5, 1985. He died October 23, 1995 at the age of sixty-seven.

For biographical reference and bibliography see:
Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers, (St. Martin's Press);
Contemporary Author (Gale);
Queen's Edition, Dictionary of International Biography (Melrose - London, England;
Murder Ink (Workman);
Who's Who.

Ancestors of Don (Donald Eugene) Pendleton:
father and mother: Louis Thomas and Drucy (Valentine) Pendleton;
grandparents: Edmund Jackson and Maggie Ellen (Lamey) Pendleton;
great grandparents: Andrew Jackson and Margaret (.....) Pendleton;
2nd great grandparents: Benjamin and Ann (Elkins-Brown) Pendleton;
3rd great grandparents: Edmund and Margaret (Page) Pendleton;
4th great grandparents: William and Elizabeth (Tinsley) Pendleton;
5th great grandparents: John and Mary (Tinsley) Pendleton;
6th great grandparents: Philip and Isabella (Hurt) Pendleton;

Contributed by Linda (Abrams) Pendleton, Sept. 1999.

©Copyright 1999 by Linda Pendleton.