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Writer Joe Hyams dies at 85

Wrote celebrity biographies on Bogart, Dean

Author and entertainment journalist Joe Hyams, who wrote more than 25 books including biographies of Humphrey Bogart and James Dean, died Nov. 8 of coronary artery disease in Denver, Colo. He was 85.

Hyams had a longtime syndicated column about Hollywood and wrote throughout the 1950s and 60s for the New York Herald Tribune, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal and Redbook. He was married to actress Elke Sommer for 17 years.

Among his books were “The Pool,” inspired by his youthful experiences selling maps to the stars’ homes, “Murder at the Academy Awards,” “Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War,” and an autobiography “Mislaid in Hollywood.”

He credited Bogart, who gave Hyams his first showbiz interview, with helping launch his career in Hollywood. His Bogart bio “Bogie” was made into a TV movie in 1980. He followed it with “Bogart & Bacall: A Love Story” written with his son Jay.

A prominent figure in the martial arts community, he wrote the book “Zen in the Martial Arts” and co-wrote “The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story” with actor Chuck Norris. Hyams worked with President Ronald Reagan’s son Michael on “Michael Reagan: On the Outside Looking In” and with Tom Murton on “Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal,” on which the 1980 Robert Redford film “Brubaker” was based.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., he attended Harvard U., left to serve in WWII and then graduated NYU.

After graduating, he was hired by the New York Herald Tribune, which sent him west to do an article on illegal immigrants. When the paper sent him to the Beverly Hills hotel to rest up from the difficult assignment, he met Bogart’s press agent at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and was soon interviewing a variety of entertainment figures for the paper.

He is survived by his wife, Melissa, two sons, two daughters, two stepdaughters and five grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Guide Dogs of America.

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