Acclaimed author Michael Malone, a longtime Hillsborough resident, died Friday at his other home in Clinton, Connecticut, according to his obituary.
He was 79 or 80 years old; his actual date of birth is unclear.
“Although many people thought he was a saint when he helped them see their own dreams, Malone didn’t think so. Instead, he hoped to become an angel, as in the plot of some of his favorite movies,” his family wrote in the obituarywhich listed many of his accomplishments.
“He is undoubtedly an angel now, and like his namesake, one with truly magnificent wingspan,” they said.
Malone was born in Durham in 1942, the eldest of six children. His family moved to Atlanta when he was about 6 years oldaccording to a 2001 Greensboro News & Record interview.
Malone returned to North Carolina when he enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill to study English. He also earned degrees from Syracuse University and Harvard University.
Malone is the author of 14 fiction books, including “Handling Sin”, “Dingley Falls” and “First Lady”, in addition to a collection of short stories, “Red Clay, Blue Cadillac”, two non-fiction books on American films and Jungian psychology, and several plays, musicals and screenplays.
From 1991 to 1996, he was the head writer of the popular ABC soap opera, “One Life to Live”, which earned him both a Daytime Emmy and a Writers Guild Awardaccording to a report by SoapHub, an online soap opera news site.
“He wrote an Emmy-winning story for me to star with other Emmy-winning actors,” actress Hillary B. Smith told the publication. “He wrote me emotions to play that were so complex, I could only let them consume me. He wrote women with brains and hearts, with courage and fear and all wrapped up in bravado. He wrote me a character that I should aspire to be. He wrote it and we came to life.
His obituary noted that Malone’s first three novels were set in California, Colorado and Connecticut, but after being advised by author Eudora Welty “to write on the ground beneath your feet”, he based his four following books in the South.
In 2000, he and his wife moved to Hillsborough, where they lived part of the year at the historic Burnside Manor, which was built in 1834. It was there that he wrote his last three books. A fourth book in his “Cuddy and Justin” series was in the works when he learned he had cancer, according to his obituary.
Hillsborough, now home to just over 7,100 people, was the setting for Malone’s crime novels based in the town of Hillston, a southern college town with a culture steeped in textiles and tobacco. His home is steps from the historic Orange County Courthouse, in the heart of a community of writers including Allan Gurganus, Lee Smith and Hal Crowther.
Malone’s writing has won him numerous awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Prize for Mysteries and the O. Henry Prize, named after another famous North Carolina author.
Hillsborough Mayor Jennifer Weaver announced Malone’s death in a Facebook post Sunday morning and recounted her experience reading her book, “Handling Sin.”
“This remains the funniest book I’ve ever read – laugh until you cry funny,” Weaver said. “Writing this kind of humor is such a gift. He has brought and given so much joy to so many people in so many ways.
Malone also worked occasionally as a professor at Harvard, Yale, Swarthmore College at the University of Pennsylvania, and Duke University Durham, where he taught English and drama, including a long-running course on film. popular called “America Dreams American Movies”. ”
According to his obituary, students who take the course compete in an Oscar-like gala-based final at which Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski would appear to present the “Golden Apple” for best director.
Malone was also an active proponent of amateur theater, his family said, founding local theater societies in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Hillsborough, where he joined Gurganus in creating a two-man adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” .
The show, held annually at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, was always sold out, his family said.
Charles Dickens was one of his favorite authorsparticularly “Great Expectations,” Malone told the Duke Today press team in a 2012 interview. He tried to read this book at least every five years, he said.
“Always keep a Dickens novel around,” Malone said in the interview. “You will laugh; you will cry; you’ll be eager to know what happens next. This is why Dickens is the novelist’s novelist. There is no one better.
His family also noted Malone’s role as an advocate, who spoke out against the death penalty, supported LGBTQ rights and helped raise awareness of the autoimmune disease lupus and HIV. AIDS epidemic. He was a 40-year donor to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which works to dismantle racism and identify hate groups, they said.
The family is asking the public to make donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center in lieu of flowers.
Malone is survived by his wife of 47 years, Maureen Quilligan, daughter Maggie and husband Matt, one sister, one brother, one half-sister, one half-brother, nieces and nephews, and 6-year-old granddaughter. year-old Maisie, “who will miss tap dancing with Pop Pop and teach her endless gymnastics,” her family said.
A public viewing will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Swan Funeral Home in Clinton, Connecticut. A second public viewing will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, August 28 at Walker’s Funeral Home on Churton Street in Hillsborough.
His funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday August 29 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on St. Mary’s Road in Hillsborough. Malone will be buried in the churchyard.
This story was originally published August 21, 2022 12:10 p.m.