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"Dirty Dozen" author E.M. Nathanson (1928-2016)


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E.M. Nathanson, whose 1965 novel "The Dirty Dozen" was turned into a popular film about World War II, died earlier this month at the age of 88. 


Directed by Robert Aldrich ("Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), the 1967 screen version of Nathanson's book starred -- among others -- Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, George Kennedy and Charles Bronson. It also is remembered as the film Cleveland Browns fullback Jim Brown was making in Europe when he announced his retirement from pro football.


The drama starred Marvin as U.S. Army Major John Reisman, assigned the task of leading a special mission against the Nazis. The keys to the plan are a dozen military convicts -- all of whom face either the death penalty or long prison sentences. The cons are offered a chance for pardons in exchange for their participation in the dangerous assignment, which involves a commando raid behind enemy lines. 


The picture was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor (Cassavetes).





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