Mickey Spillane rocked the literary world with his shoot-em-up, sex-filled crime novels, which were uniformly disliked by critics and loved by readers.
Sales of his books, many starring his signature macho detective Mike Hammer, topped 100 million.
Notable titles include his first, “I, the Jury,” published in 1947, “The Killing Man” and “One Lonely Night.”
Born Frank Morrison Spillane in New York and raised in New Jersey, Spillane became a resident of Murrells Inlet in the 1950s. He first fell in love with Murrells Inlet when he saw the area from an airplane while working as a fighter pilot and a flight instructor during World War II. During his lifetime, Spillane worked as a lifeguard, actor, TV pitchman and circus performer. He appeared in Miller Lite beer commercials and performed in the movie “The Ring of Fear” with John Wayne (who later gifted Spillane a 1956 Jaguar for his help with a last-minute rewrite).
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His most successful job, however, was as a writer.
“This is an income-generating job,” he told The Associated Press during a 2001 interview. “Fame was never anything to me unless it afforded me a good livelihood.”
Spillane died of cancer at age 88 in 2006, a year after the S.C. House of Representatives declared March 9 “Mickey Spillane Day.”