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William F. Nolan, Iconic Sci-Fi Author Who Co-Penned ‘Logan’s Run’, Dies at 93

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 7/19/2021 Ryan Parker
William F. Nolan standing posing for the camera © Courtesy of Jason V Brock

William F. Nolan, the iconic sci-fi writer best known as the co-author of Logan’s Run, has died, his rep Jason V. Brock informed The Hollywood Reporter. He was 93.

Nolan passed peacefully Thursday during a brief stay in the hospital following complications from an infection, Brock said.

The wordsmith churned out hundreds of pieces throughout his illustrious career, including biographies, short stories, nonfiction, poetry and prose, but he would reach legendary status with Logan’s Run, the 1967 novel he co-penned with the late George Clayton Johnson.

The book told the story of a dome-encased population in the year 2116 where people are allowed every indulgence they can imagine, but with a catch — they will be euthanized at the age of 21 to control the population. The groundbreaking novel would be turned into the classic 1976 MGM picture, starring Michael York.

In a recent interview with THR to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Oscar-winning film, Nolan said he was holding out hope another adaption of Logan’s Run would finally happen, closer to the specifics of his novel. The project is stuck in development limbo at Warner Bros.

“I am not a fan of the idea that Logan should be female,” Nolan told THR. “Mainly because Logan’s story is his story. If there is another story, then that could be in a TV episode or something, but it would not be Logan’s story. That would be a different character. Just changing to a woman to be fashionable doesn’t work, and George told me he felt the same. George was always tougher on the movie than I was. Over the years I came over more to his side about it, which is why I’d like to see it remade with the current technology. I also think it would be a really good streaming series, like Westworld.”

Nolan was born on March 6, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri. He was the only child of Michael Cahill Nolan, an adventurer and sportsman, and Bernadette Mariana Kelly Nolan, a stenographer. His youth was filled with movies and, of course, books, which he is said to have devoured, especially comics and pulps.

The Nolan family moved to Chula Vista, California, just after World War II. There he discovered he also has a knack for drawing (he would have a stint at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City), but he remained enthralled with pulps such as Black Mask and Weird Tales and comics, especially Jack Kirby’s creations.

Once established in Los Angeles, Nolan stumbled across the works of budding writer Ray Bradbury, becoming an instant convert. Seeking Bradbury out, by 1952 he had learned enough about him to compile his first serious book, Ray Bradbury Review. It contained a mix of art, stories and nonfiction, including pieces by writers Chad Oliver and Bradbury.

After a few years of doing art, active semi-pro fanzine work and other fan-related organizing, Nolan made his first big professional sale, “The Darendinger Build-Up” to Playboy. It was then that he decided to become a professional writer.

Around that time, Bradbury introduced Nolan to the man who would become his best friend for 10 years, until his untimely death: Charles Beaumont. Nolan, Johnson, Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Chad Oliver, Charles E. Fritch, Kris Neville, John Tomerlin, Mari Wolf and several others eventually comprised “The Group,” which met to discuss stories. Nolan would shortly thereafter flourish as a writer and later a screenwriter, primarily for director Dan Curtis.

Nolan has no living relatives. He was married one time. He considered rep Jason and Sunni Brock his family.

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