Walt Morey, `Gentle Ben' Author
WILSONVILLE, Ore. - Walt Morey, author of "Gentle Ben" and other children's books, died of a heart attack Sunday at his home. He was 84.
"Gentle Ben," the story of a 13-foot, 2,200-pound Kodiak bear, appeared in 1965 and sold nearly 3 million copies. It was turned into a movie and television series.
Mr. Morey wrote 14 other children's books, most of them based on the people and animals he knew.
Born Feb. 3, 1907, Mr. Morey was a native of Hoquiam. After graduating from high school, Mr. Morey moved around the Pacific Northwest as mill worker, construction worker, theater manager and, for a time, as a professional boxer.
He began his writing career by selling short stories to pulp magazines in the late 1920s and wrote two books for adults.
With the decline of pulp magazines, Mr. Morey retired from writing for a time and ran a hazelnut orchard in Oregon. He resumed writing and produced Gentle Ben at his wife's urging.
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