cloudy.png
Sunday October 25th, 2020 1:04PM

'Forrest Gump' author Winston Groom dead at 77

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (AP) — Winston Groom, the writer whose novel “Forrest Gump” was made into a six-Oscar winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop cultural phenomenon, has died at age 77.

Mayor Karin Wilson of Fairhope, Alabama, said in a message on social media that Groom had died in that south Alabama town. A local funeral home also confirmed the death and said arrangements were pending.

“While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.

“Forrest Gump” was the improbable tale of a slow-witted but mathematically gifted man who was a participant or witness to key points of 20th century history — from Alabama segregationist Gov. George Wallace's “stand at the schoolhouse door," to meetings with presidents.

It was the best known book by Groom, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965, according to a biography posted by the university.

Groom served in the Army’s Fourth Infantry Division from 1965 to 1969, the university said. His service included a tour in Vietnam — one of the settings for “Forrest Gump.”

He wrote 16 books, fiction and nonfiction. One, “Conversations with the Enemy,” about a American prisoner of war in Vietnam accused of collaboration, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, according to the university.

It was “Forrest Gump” — and the success of the 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks in the iconic role of Gump, as well as Sally Field and Gary Sinise — that earned him widespread fame and some financial success.

The novel is considerably different from the film. Don Noble, University of Alabama professor emeritus of English, and a 40-year friend of Groom’s told The Tuscaloosa News that the novel was “darker” and “richer” than the movie.

“You can make a lot of money as a comic writer, but you can’t get no respect,” Noble said. “But ‘Forrest Gump’ is really actually quite a fine novel. It’s more subtle and more complicated ... richer than the movie.”

The movie, which also starred Robin Wright and Mykelti Williamson, became deeply embedded in the American psyche and has remained an enduring television staple and huge cultural phenomenon since.

“It touched a nerve,” Groom told the Tuscaloosa News in 2014.

The film dominated the 1995 Academy Awards, winning six Oscars including best picture, best director for Robert Zemeckis and best actor for Hanks.

It was 1994’s No. 2 grossing film at the box office, second only to “The Lion King.”

The basic outlines of Gump’s life are the same as they are in the book: Gump plays football under Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama, serves in Vietnam and starts a major shrimp business.

But the film made major departures. Gump was not a math savant as he was in the book, and was a more saintly soul. The film took away Gump’s size -- Groom said he envisioned John Goodman playing him -- along with his profanity, and most of his sex life.

They “took some of the rough edges off,” Groom told the New York Times in 1994.

Groom also wrote nonfiction on diverse subjects including the Civil War, World War I and Alabama's Crimson Tide football.

In 2005, Groom released “1942: The Year That Tried Men’s Souls,” which chronicled the first year of U.S. involvement in World War II.

In 2009 he released “Vicksburg 1863,” an account of the Union siege that brought a novelist’s touch to historical figures like Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Jefferson Davis, president of the confederacy.

His most recent novel, El Paso, was published in 2016.

Groom got $350,000 for the rights to “Forrest Gump” plus 3% of the net profit of the movie. But he got into a serious dispute with Paramount Pictures when they told him a film that had earned over $600 million was in the red after expenses.

But years later he wasn’t bitter.

“They did an excellent job,” he told the Tuscaloosa News. “I would have probably preferred my version of it, but that thing never would have opened.”

The book became a major bestseller in the wake of the film, and Groom got a much better deal for the follow-up novel, 1995’s “Gump and Co.”

“I’m happy as a pig in sunshine,” he told the Mobile Register.

Nonetheless, sequel-addicted Hollywood somehow never made the new movie.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Death / Obits News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
FBI director says antifa is an ideology, not an organization
FBI Director Chris Wray says he regards antifa as more of an ideology than an organization
10:07PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Comeback Heat do it again, rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead
Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21, and the Miami Heat pulled off another comeback to beat the Boston Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night
9:48PM ( 23 minutes ago )
At town hall, Biden blasts Trump's 'criminal' virus response
Joe Biden is deriding President Donald Trump for his handling of COVID-19, calling his downplaying of the pandemic “criminal” and his administration “totally irresponsible.”
9:31PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
With picnic baskets, Christian Siriano puts on backyard show
Christian Siriano took to his Connecticut backyard Thursday for a cozy fashion show complete with picnic baskets for his small in-person crowd and masks on the faces of his models
5:34PM ( 4 hours ago )
'Cheer' star Jerry Harris arrested on child porn charges
“Cheer” star Jerry Harris has been arrested on charges of felony production of child pornography
4:52PM ( 5 hours ago )
Twisted Sister singer to anti-maskers: Don't use our song
Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider took to social media to condemn anti-maskers who ripped off their masks inside a Florida Target store while blaring the group’s hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”
2:11PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Chinese viewers pan Disney's new 'Mulan' as inauthentic
The remake of “Mulan” struck all the right chords to be a hit in the key Chinese market
10:22AM ( 11 hours ago )
Chinese viewers find Disney's new 'Mulan' to be tired take
The remake of “Mulan” struck all the right chords to be a hit in the key Chinese market
2:59AM ( 19 hours ago )
With quiet humanity, Chloe Zhao's 'Nomadland' makes noise
What’s it like to be an international film festival sensation without hardly leaving your home
9:03PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Movies News
FBI director says antifa is an ideology, not an organization
FBI Director Chris Wray says he regards antifa as more of an ideology than an organization
10:07PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Comeback Heat do it again, rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead
Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21, and the Miami Heat pulled off another comeback to beat the Boston Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night
9:48PM ( 23 minutes ago )
At town hall, Biden blasts Trump's 'criminal' virus response
Joe Biden is deriding President Donald Trump for his handling of COVID-19, calling his downplaying of the pandemic “criminal” and his administration “totally irresponsible.”
9:31PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Rescuers reach people cut off by Gulf Coast hurricane
Hurricane Sally left some people on the Gulf Coast cut off by floodwaters until they could be rescued by teams in boats and high-water vehicles
9:29PM ( 43 minutes ago )
'Melrose Place' actress headed back to prison for 2010 crash
A former “Melrose Place” actress who has already served a prison sentence for a fatal 2010 drunken driving crash in New Jersey is headed back behind bars
9:21PM ( 51 minutes ago )