MacDonald, John

From Astro-Databank
Jump to: navigation, search
MacDonald, John Gender: M
John Dann MacDonald
born on 24 July 1916 at 20:05 (= 8:05 PM )
Place Sharon, Pennsylvania, 41n14, 80w30
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
Quoted BC/BR
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: CAH
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 01°44' s_mo.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 06°47 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 09°13'

John MacDonald
photo: Pppjoker, license cc-by-sa-3.0


American action-adventure writer, winner of the Edgar Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America, 1972, and winner of the American Book Award's mystery competition with his novel "The Green Ripper," 1980. Best known for creating the character of Travis McGee, an eccentric anti-hero detective who appeared in 21 mystery novels, his prolific career spanned more than 40 years. He wrote 77 books and 500 short stories.

John's dad was a strong-willed workaholic who rose from humble origins to become a top executive at a firearms company in Utica, NY. At age 12, the boy suffered a near-fatal attack of mastoiditis and scarlet fever which confined him to bed for many months. It was during this time he discovered the great joy of reading and went through huge quantities of books.

After graduating from the Utica Free Academy in 1933, MacDonald attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and then transferred to the Syracuse University where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration in January 1938. Later he received a master's degree from the Harvard School of Business, June 1939.

After taking several jobs he didn't like, in June 1940 he accepted a lieutenant's commission in the U.S. Army Reserve and was assigned to active duty at the Rochester Ordnance District in Rochester, NY. In June 1943 he was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater Headquarters in New Delhi and was later recruited overseas by the OSS (CIA forerunner) and appointed commander of the Branch Establishment of Detachment 404 in Colombo, Ceylon. In wartime the outgoing mail was heavily censored and he found it difficult to write enough in letters he sent his wife, Dorothy. One time he wrote her a short story instead of a letter. She liked it, typed it up and sent it to "Story Magazine." It appeared in the July-August 1946 issue. When he found out they paid $25 for it, he felt like an impostor, trying to be something he wasn't. Then he thought maybe he could actually be a writer. In the first four months after being discharged he wrote 800,000 words and from then on, never stopped writing.

His work began to sell to the pulp magazines such as "Detective Tales, " "Dime Detective", "Black Mask" "Doc Savage" and "The Shadow" as well as "Esquire," "Cosmopolitan," and "Liberty." During these years, 1947 to 1952, he honed his skills by writing two Westerns, at least 21 shorts stories and well over 40 ventures into science fiction. In 1950, his first book was published, "The Brass Cupcake." He moved his wife and son to Texas, then back to upstate New York, then Mexico and finally to Florida where he has lived since.

Beginning in 1964, with "The Deep Blue Goodbye," his character McGee came to life, solving crimes and indulging his creator's dislike for many of the trends and customs in contemporary life. Throughout the McGee mysteries and other novels, MacDonald's voice was one of a social historian, particularly of the Southern coast. The last McGee book, published in 1985, was "The Lonely Silver Rain." In later years, the non-McGee novels tackled corporate swindles and greed, as in the 1977 "Condominium," about corporations grabbing land in Florida. Another novel, "One More Sunday," 1984, is about spiritually bankrupt evangelical church leaders who raise funds through TV and computers.

MacDonald married Dorothy Prentiss, also a Syracuse graduate, in 1938. A disciplined writer, he kept regular hours, working from 8:30 AM to 6 PM, producing from 900 to 9,000 words a day. He put off writing only to travel with his wife or to go fishing. A lover of boats, like McGee, MacDonald also enjoyed chess, poker and was once a semi-pro bridge player.

Hospitalized since September 1986, he died on 12/28/1986 in Milwaukee, WI of complications following heart by-pass surgery.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Social : End a program of study 1933 (Graduated from Utica Free Academy)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1938 (Dorothy Prentiss)
  • Social : End a program of study January 1938 (B.S. degree from Syracuse Univ.)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : End a program of study June 1939 (Masters Degree from Harvard, Business)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Joined group June 1940 (U.S. Army reserves)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released July 1946 (First short story published)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1950 (First book published)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1964 (Introduced McGee character into his books)
  • Work : Prize 1972 (Edwar Grand Master award)
  • Social : Institutionalized - prison, hospital September 1986 (Hospitalized)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Other Death 28 December 1986 in Milwaukee (Complications from heart surgery, age 70)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Contemporary American Horoscopes


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Masters Degree, Harvard)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Other Major diseases (Scarlet fever, nearly fatal)
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Heart (By-pass surgery, terminal)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (48 years with Dorothy)
  • Vocation : Military : Combat (China-Burma-India theater)
  • Vocation : Military : Military service (WW II, five years)
  • Vocation : Writers : Detective/ Mystery (77 books)
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction (77 books, 500 short stories)
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Edgar Grand Master award, others)
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Writing awards)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession