|Born in 1928, Walter Tevis lived in San Francisco until the age of 11. A sickly child with a rheumatic heart, his last year there was spent alone in hospital after the rest of his family moved to Kentucky. Rejoining his family, he had a troubled school career, culminating in a 2 year stint in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Following the war, he attended college, eventually receiving an M.A. in English, and he began to teach--first at the high school level, and later becoming a respected professor at several different colleges. In 1952, he married Jamie Griggs, another teacher. His first novel, 1959s "The Hustler", was a very successful novel charting the rise of young pool player named Fast Eddie Felson. In 1961, it was made into a movie starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. In 1963, his second novel was published. "The Man Who Fell To Earth" was also critically well received and subsequently made into a movie. It was the blackly comic story of an alien who, upon his arrival on Earth, is slowly and completely corrupted by human civilization. On several occasions Tevis stated that his work was largely autobiographical, though "The Man Who..." may well have been prophetic. Like that book's title character, Tevis began to drink heavily and, for the next 17 years, he wrote nothing. During this period, his marriage ended. Moving to New York in 1978, though, he began to write again, producing several short stories--many of which, together with some early pieces, were published in 1981s "Far From Home" collection--and his third novel, a bleak study of damaged humanity no longer able to properly care for itself called "Mockingbird". This novel was a nominee for the Nebula Award in 1980. His next two novels, both appearing in 1983, were "The Steps of the Sun"--another science fiction novel, this one about an emotionally scarred man trying to help a humanity that, by and large, isn't interested--and "The Queen's Gambit"--a powerful novel about an orphan girl who rises to the uppermost echelons of the chess world. Though critically praised, neither of these novels sold particularly well and, perhaps due to this, Tevis wrote his last novel as a sequel to his most famous work, "The Hustler". "The Color of Money" returns to the shattered life of Fast Eddie, now twenty-five years older, as he tries to stage a comeback in a very different pool world than his own youth, one of much younger and more dangerous pool players. It proved to be Tevis's last published work--though he had apparently been working a screenplay adaptation of "The Queen Gambit" at the time of his death August 9, 1984 from lung cancer. Following the success of the movie version of "The Color of Money", again starring Paul Newman, along with Tom Cruise, Tevis was posthumously inducted into the Billiard Congress of America's Hall of Fame, crediting him with having "made lasting, memorable, and important contributions to billiards." The almost continual mention of Tevis's work in various lists of "favorite" and "influential" novels may help to redeem his reputation as a seriously underrated American author.