litgallico title


Paul Gallico - a biography

Paul William Gallico was born in New York City, on 26th July, 1897. His father was an Italian, and his mother came from Austria; they emigrated to New York in 1895.

He went to school in the public schools of New York, and in 1916 went to Columbia University. He graduated in 1921 with a Bachelor of Science degree, having lost a year and a half due to World War I. He then worked for the National Board of Motion Picture Review, and after six months took a job as the motion picture critic for the New York Daily News. He was removed from this job as his "reviews were too Smart Alecky" (according to Confessions of a Story Teller), and took refuge in the sports department.

During his stint there, he was sent to cover the training camp of Jack Dempsey, and decided to ask Dempsey if he could spar with him, to get an idea of what it was like to be hit by the world heavyweight champion. The results were spectacular; Gallico was knocked out within two minutes. But he had his story, and from there his sports-writing career never looked back.

He became Sports Editor of the Daily News in 1923, and was given a daily sports column. He also invented and organised the Golden Gloves amateur boxing competition. During this part of his life, he was one of the most well-known sporting writers in America, and a minor celebrity. But he had always wanted to be a fiction writer, and was writing short stories and sports articles for magazines like Vanity Fair and the Saturday Evening Post. In 1936, he sold a short story to the movies for $5000, which gave him a stake. So he retired from sports writing, and went to live in Europe, to devote himself to writing. His first major book was Farewell to Sport, which as the title indicates, was his farewell to sports writing.

Though his name was well-known in the United States, he was an unknown in the rest of the world. In 1941, the Snow Goose changed all that, and he became, if not a best-selling author by today's standards, a writer who was always in demand. Apart from a short spell as a war correspondent between 1943 and 1946, he was a full-time freelance writer for the rest of his life. He has lived all over the place, including England, Mexico, Lichtenstein and Monaco, and he lived in Antibes for the last years of his life.

He was a first-class fencer, and a keen deep-sea fisherman. He was married four times, and had several children.

He died in Antibes on 15th July, 1976, just short of his 79th birthday.

These pages are copyright © Martin Benson, 1999-2003. You are welcome to link to them.
To link to this page, please use the following:-

The photograph of Paul Gallico is by Arne Glantz, and is used without permission; if anyone can help me obtain that permission, I would be very pleased.

Back to Paul Gallico Home Page