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Edward Bunker

Writer, actor

This article was updated on July 22, 2005.

Novelist, screenwriter, and actor Edward Bunker died of natural causes July 19 in Burbank, Calif.,. He was 71.

The ex-con-turned-novelist and screenwriter also acted in films such as “Reservoir Dogs,” in which he played Mr. Blue.

He grew up in Hollywood where he became a delinquent at an early age, ending up at 17 in San Quentin as the institution’s youngest prisoner. During his time in prison, he was given a typewriter by Louise Fazenda Wallis, Hal Wallis’ wife, and began to write, in part inspired by meeting writer and kidnapper Caryl Chessman on Death Row. His first published novel, “No Beast So Fierce” was adapted as the film “Straight Time” with Dustin Hoffman, written by Alvin Sargent, Jeffrey Boam and Bunker.

His second novel, “Animal Factory” became a movie from his screenplay, directed by Steve Buscemi, starring Willem Dafoe and Edward Furlong.

Other novels followed: “Little Boy Blue,” the story of a young Los Angeles boy’s descent into a life of crime, which was adapted for the screen by Bunker and director Michele Ohayon for Lighthouse Productions and “Dog Eat Dog,” which was adapted by Bunker for Romano/Shane Productions.

His memoir, “Education of a Felon” was published by St. Martin’s Press and has also been published in Britain (under the title “Mr. Blue”), France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia. It will become a film directed by Joe Berlinger for @radicalmedia.

He had a role in Andrei Konchalavsky’s “Runaway Train” for which he also wrote the screenplay, and also appeared in “The Long Riders,” “Tango & Cash,” “Shadrach” and most recently, “The Longest Yard.”

He is survived by a son.

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