Idaho writer William C. Anderson, author of 22 books including the bestseller “Bat-21,” died of heart failure May 16 in Fairfield, Calif. He was 83.
Anderson, a decorated Air Force pilot who authored 22 novels, was best known for “Bat-21.” The 1980 novel told the true story of Air Force Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton, who was shot down behind enemy lines during the Vietnam war. Anderson also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1988 movie of the same name, which starred Danny Glover and Gene Hackman.
Anderson’s 1972 book “Hurricane Hunters” was made into “Hurricane,” a 1974 television movie starring Larry Hagman.
La Junta, Colo., native grew up in Boise, Idaho, then signed up for the Army Air Corps, the precursor of the U.S. Air Force, in 1942. He flew B-24s during World War II, participated in the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and flew bombers during nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific in 1958. Among the awards he earned were the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Citation and a European Theater ribbon with five battle stars. He retired in 1964 and launched his writing career.
His books also include the 1994 novel “Lady Bluebeard,” based on the true story of a Twin Falls housewife believed to be the nation’s first female serial killer. Anderson was promoting a film version of the story at the time of his death.
He is survived by his wife Dortha, two daughters, a son and six grandchildren.