Miles Hood Swarthout, Western novelist and screenwriter, passed away at his home in Playa del Rey, California on March 3 from complications of myelodysplasia. He was 69 years old.
The only child of the late Kathryn Blair Swarthout and Glendon Swarthout, Miles was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on May 1, 1946 into a literary family. He penned his first short story at the age of six.
The family later moved to Scottsdale, Arizona where his parents gained increasing recognition as authors. Kathryn Swarthout was a long-time columnist for Women’s Day Magazine, and collaborated with her husband on several successful juvenile fiction novels. Glendon Swarthout wrote more than 20 novels in several genres, including Where the Boys Are, The Shootist, and the Homesman. A number of the novels became bestsellers, and eight were made into motion pictures.
Miles pursued undergraduate studies in English literature at Claremont McKenna College, and received an M.A. in telecommunications and film studies at the University of Southern California.
Miles wrote seven original screenplays and adapted a number of his father’s novels into films, among them, “The Shootist,” winner of a Writers Guild nomination for best adaptation. He later turned his attention to the genre of fiction. Among his credits as a novelist are the Spur Award-winning novel, “The Sergeant’s Lady,” and “The Last Shootist,” winner of Best Western novel of 2014.
He also wrote Western movie reviews, and articles for a number of other publications: Persimmon Hill, the magazine of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, The Arizona Republic and The LA Times. Miles was a popular lecturer at conferences dealing with all things Western. He was a member of the Western Writers of America, the Writers Guild and the University Film and Video Association.
He is survived by several aunts, numerous cousins and good friends.
Memorial donations may be made to the Arizona State University Foundation for the benefit of the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Awards in Creative Writing Endowment, P.O. Box 2260, Tempe, Arizona 85280-2260.