Gustav Hasford, the novelist
nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing the screenplay for
Metal Jacket, has died in Greece. He was 45.
Hasford died Friday in Aegina, apparently of complications from untreated diabetes, a San Diego friend said Monday.
The 1987 film by director Stanley Kubrick was based on Hasford's partly autobiographical novel The Short-Timers. The critically acclaimed book, published by Harper & Row in 1979, was written from Hasford's experiences as a combat correspondent with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam during the Tet offensive of 1968.
After a long battle, Hasford won shared screen credit with Kubrick and Michael Herr for co-writing the Full Metal Jacket screenplay and shared an Oscar nomination for best screenplay in 1988. But Hasford had no intentions of becoming a screenwriter and declined to attend the Academy Awards ceremony.
"I didn't ask anybody to nominate me for an Oscar," he said. The colorful, self-educated Hasford claimed that limelight made him a target of authorities later in 1988 when he was arrested in San Luis Obispo for grand theft. He was accused of stealing thousands of books from more than 70 libraries throughout the United States and England. Hasford ultimately pleaded no contest to reduced charges of possessing stolen property, paid a fine and shipping charges to return 748 books, and served three months of a six-month sentence in the San Luis Obispo
Hasford--who traveled extensively, moved frequently and rarely had a permanent address--had often spoken of the 10,000 books he kept in storage lockers as his research library.
"I'm a writer, not a book collector," he once told The Times. "To me, books are tools, not art objects. I use them for various projects that I'm researching."
Other books by Hasford include The Phantom Blooper, a sequel to TheShort-Timers, and A Gypsy Good Time.
Copyright (c) 1993 Times Mirror Company
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