Mickey Spillane wrote his first Mike Hammer novel in three fevered weeks after returning from World War II. The 1947 book, I, the Jury, launched decades of Hammer fiction -- and cemented Spillane as an icon of American pulp fiction.
In 1955, Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly was adapted to the screen. It's now considered a classic of film noir, but Spillane was disappointed that the movie played down his fiercely felt anti-communism. And he believed Mike Hammer was woefully miscast. In 1963, he played Mike Hammer himself, in the film The Girl Hunters.
Like his characters, Spillane's own life was richly lived, as he moved from a Brooklyn boyhood to service in World War II to crafting Mike Hammer. Spillane once told interviewers that he was not an author, but a writer -- who had to make a living with his hard-boiled prose. And with over 30 novels to his credit, Mickey Spillane certainly did.