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Novelist, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ira Wolfert dies at 89

November 27, 1997

MARGARETVILLE, N.Y. (AP) _ Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporter Ira Wolfert, whose first novel ``Tucker’s People″ became the basis of the cult movie ``Force of Evil,″ has died at 89.

Wolfert lived in Lake Hill, 46 miles southwest of Albany, and died Monday at the Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville.

A series of stories Wolfert wrote about a November 1942 sea battle off Guadalcanal won him the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. A correspondent for the North American Newspaper Alliance during World War II, he also won acclaim for his 1943 book ``Tucker’s People.″

``Battle for the Solomons,″ a nonfiction eyewitness account, was published in 1943 and became a best seller, as did his 1948 novel ``An Act of Love.″ ``American Guerilla in the Philippines″ became a 1950 movie of the same name.

``Tucker’s People″ was republished earlier this year by the University of Illinois Press. Wolfert, a Brooklyn native, drew from his experience as a reporter covering racketeering trials to write the book.

Wolfert collaborated with Abraham Polonsky to write the screenplay for ``Force of Evil.″ The 1948 movie, starring John Garfield, was dismissed as boilerplate gangster drama, but has become popular with contemporary audiences.

He is survived by a daughter, Ruth Wolfert, of Manhattan; a son, Michael, of Lake Hill; and four grandchildren.

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