Famous Hoosiers: Marilyn Durham

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

In our newest blog series, “Famous Hoosiers”, numerous Hoosiers have represented the great state of Indiana in various mediums such as politics, entertainment, and literature. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to highlight their life, career, and contribution to Indiana. Our first Hoosier is author Marilyn Durham.

Two women loved him. One died for him. One killed for him. In the center of the poster is Burt Reynolds. The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing. Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070363/?ref_=nv_sr_3

Movie poster of “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing”, 1973. Credit: IMDb.com

Durham was born on September 8, 1930 in Evansville, Indiana. She received a degree from Evansville College, better known today as the University of Evansville (Evansville Courier and Press, 2015; Hoosier screenwriters, 2013). Durham wrote three fiction novels: The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1972), Dutch Uncle (1973), and Flambard’s Confession (1982). The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing was a national bestseller and a movie was produced in 1973, starring Burt Reynolds; moreover, “she won the Fiction Award of the Society of Midland Authors in 1973” (Evansville Courier and Press, 2015).

After achieving success, Durham held numerous workshops in Evansville over the years to inspire future writers at the University of Southern Indiana during the mid-1970’s to early-1990’s. Durham passed away on March 19, 2015 in Evansville, Indiana (Evansville Courier and Press, 2015). Here at the University Archives and Special Collections contains the Marilyn Durham collection. It contains the original manuscripts of The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing and Uncle Dutch as well as book covers. C.S. Lewis stated, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”


Evansville Courier and Press (2015 March 25). Marilyn Durham. Retrieved from http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/courierpress/obituary.aspx?pid=174475855

Hoosier screenwriters and novelists whose work has been translated to the screen (2013). Retrieved from http://www.whenmoviesweremovies.com/hoosierscreenwriters.html

This entry was posted in Evansville, Indiana, Famous Hoosiers, literature. Bookmark the permalink.

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