W.E.B. Griffin, Army Veteran and Prolific Military Novelist, Dead at Age 89

In this 2005 photo, W.E.B. Griffin smuggles a two-bit cardboard box into a five-star hotel elevator at the historic Willard Intercontinental with provisions acquired at Costco following a signing there for his novel "By Order of the President." (webgriffin.com)

NEW YORK (AP) — W.E.B. Griffin, the prolific and best-selling author of military novels, has died at age 89.

Griffin, whose real name was William E. Butterworth III, died Feb. 12. His death was confirmed Monday by his publisher, Putnam, which did not immediately provide additional details.

Himself a military veteran who enlisted in the Army when he was just shy of 17 and later served in the Korean War, he wrote more than 200 books under W.E.B. Griffin and various other names and sold millions of copies. His many popular series included "Badge of Honor," ''Clandestine Operations" and "Presidential Agent." More than 20 novels, including the upcoming "The Attack," were written with his son, William E. Butterworth IV. Under his own name, he helped write several sequels in the 1970s to the Richard Hooker novel "M*A*S*H," the basis for the hit movie and television show about a U.S. medical unit in Korea.

A Newark, New Jersey native, Griffin started using other names on for his books in the 1960s because he worried that libraries wouldn't accept multiple works by the same author in a given year. His pen names included Alex Baldwin, Webb Beech and Walter E. Blake. He thought of Griffin as a pen name in the 1980s, noting on his web site that Griffin was "the mythical creature with the wings of an eagle and the loins of a lion . which of course is how most colonels think of themselves."

Griffin's wife, the dancer and author, Emma Macalik Butterworth, died in 2003. He is survived by four children.

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