Sloan Wilson

Born - May 8, 1920   |   Died - May 25, 2003   |   Genres - Drama, Romance

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An author whose novels The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and A Summer Place sparked controversy for their criticism of social conformity and conservative sexual mores, respectively, it would come as quite a surprise to many that Sloan Wilson's two most popular novels found unexpected success as Hollywood features. Born to a pair of writers in Westport, CT, Wilson graduated from Harvard before serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Subsequently finding work at The Providence Journal in Rhode Island, Wilson would later land a job at Time-Life Inc. as a researcher and assistant to president Roy Larsen. It was during his stint at Time-Life Inc. that the monotony and soul-draining effects of corporate compromise would provide inspiration for The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. The novel soon began the fast track to becoming a motion picture, and in 1956 the cinematic adaptation, starring Gregory Peck, opened to favorable reviews. It wasn't long before movie executives were eying Wilson's other writings, and three short years later audiences were treated to a film version of A Summer Place. Though avid public education advocate Wilson would pen numerous other books, it was his later work as an editor for Parents Magazine and The New York Herald-Tribune that kept the writer busy. On May 25, 2003, Sloan Wilson died in Colonial Beach, VA, following an extended bout with Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.