|Birth: ||Oct. 4, 1924|
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
|Death: ||Jul. 11, 2012|
Creator of Encyclopedia Brown Series.
Donald J. Sobol, who wrote more than 80 books, including the popular Encyclopedia Brown children's mystery series about a 10-year-old boy detective named Leroy "Encyclopedia'' Brown, died of gastric lymphoma on July 11 in Miami.
Sobol was educated at New York's prestigious Ethical Culture Fieldston School, then Oberlin College, from which he graduated in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in English. He had interrupted his education in 1942 to enlist in U.S. Army, and served in the Pacific with the Army Corps of Engineers.
The idea for Encyclopedia Brown came to Sobol when he was researching an article at the New York Public Library, "and a game book was handed to him in error by a desk clerk,'' according to a statement from his publisher. "The book had puzzles on one side of the page and solutions on the other. He thought, ‘Why not write a mystery series with the same sort of premise?' ''
When Sobol sent his first manuscript, Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, to potential publishers, he was met with almost universal rejection: 24 publishers said no. Finally, a year and a half later, one publisher, T. Nelson, said yes.
"I use that number whenever I talk to children or adults," Sobol says. "It's a concentrated way of saying, ‘Hey, don't give up. Persevere, and don't take no for an answer. And if you really think (the publishers) are right, then look over the manuscript and polish it a little more.'
"Readers constantly ask me if Encyclopedia Brown is a real boy. The answer is no," Mr. Sobol once said. "He is, perhaps, the boy I wanted to be — doing the things I wanted to read about but could not find in any book when I was 10."
His four children were an active part of the writing process, according to son John Sobol, who said their father worked from home and would ask for their ideas. When they were older, they also helped him proof-read, John said.
In 1983, son Glenn Sobol died in a car wreck at age 23. "It broke his heart," John said. "There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't think of his son."
In Miami, he led an intentionally quiet, family-centered life, said son John Sobol. It's what he wanted as "a very private man who didn't want to be famous." He never granted television interviews, and he talked with newspaper and magazine reporters by phone to avoid being photographed. His picture appeared in only one of his books, and that, he says, was by mistake. "I am very content with staying in the background and letting the books do the talking," he explains. He enjoyed tennis, gardening and collecting antique automobiles.
John Sobol said his father did not get rich from his work. "My father was not a businessman," he said. "His contribution was sort of inversely proportional to his financial compensation. He lived a comfortable middle-class life."
In 1979, Mr. Sobol sold the rights to his books — for movies, TV shows and video games — for $25,000 to the producer Howard Deutsch. Mr. Sobol later contested the agreement, and the case was settled out of court, with Mr. Deutsch retaining the movie rights. HBO made an "Encyclopedia Brown" series in 1989
Sobol authored more than 80 books and wrote on a daily basis to the very end.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Eric Olson
Record added: May 20, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 110888628
You were a great author.|
Added: Nov. 3, 2015
This man changed my life and fueled my love for books. It's because of him and a few other children's books authors that kept me up at night, poring through books instead of buried in television. No one will ever be as good as he was.|
Added: Aug. 29, 2014
Had I been an executive at a TV network Dr Haledajian would have been almost as famous as Sherlock Holmes because he would have had his own weekly show that adults & children could have watched together & solved as a family. The idiotic networks back then...(Read more)|
Added: Jul. 28, 2014
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