W.E.B. Griffin, the prolific author of nearly 250 books, nearly 160 of which were military fiction, died on February 12, his publisher, Putnam, confirmed. He was 89.
Griffin, né William E. Butterworth III, entered the U.S. Army in 1946, was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, and later recalled to active duty in the Korean War, in 1951. Griffin was the recipient of the 1991 Brigadier General Robert L. Dening Memorial Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Marine Corps and the 1999 Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, and was a vested member of the Order of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association and the Order of St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation Association.
Butterworth, a bestselling author many times over under a handful of pseudonyms, has more than 50 million copies of books under the Griffin name in print in more than 10 languages, including, his publisher said, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian. As Griffin, he was the author of 61 novels in seven series. Under different pseudonyms, Butterworth wrote a number of other books for both adults and children, including 12 of the 13 M*A*S*H novels.
"Known for his historical accuracy, richly drawn characters, thrilling adventure, crackling wit, and astute aptitude for the heart and mind of a military hero, Griffin delighted readers for decades with his electrifying novels about the military, police, spies, and counterspies," the publisher wrote in its tribute to the author. "We at Putnam are saddened to share the news of W.E.B. Griffin’s passing," a representative of the publisher added, calling the author "a decades-long bestselling author, decorated military man, and one of the bedrocks of G.P. Putnam’s Sons."
Griffin is survived by his four children, including his son, William E. Butterworth IV, his co-writer on 21 novels.