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Author Whose Novel Became 1994 Blockbuster Film Has Died

'Forrest Gump' author Winston Groom was 77
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2020 3:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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. Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson said in a message on social media that Groom had died in the south Alabama town, the AP reports. “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. It was the best known book by Groom, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965.

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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 POW 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—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 tells the Tuscaloosa News that the novel was "darker" and "richer" than the movie.

(Read more Forrest Gump stories.)

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