William Riley Burnett (Springfield, Ohio, 25 October 1899 – Santa Monica, California, 25 April 1982), American screenwriter, writer and author of detective fiction.


After his studies in journalism took odd jobs and wrote five novels that found no editor. Then went to Chicago, where one could see the world of the gangsters and illegal traffic during prohibition. There he found inspiration to compose his first success, Little Ceasar (the little Caesar), which was very well received and adapted to the cinema with Edward g. Robinson in the starring role. After this went to Hollywood, where he worked as scriptwriter and more than 50 films (Scarface, for example) adapter Conitnuó publishing novels as the asphalt jungle (The Asphalt Jungle) in 1949, first volume of a trilogy, and also adapted into a film. He is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Burnett worked with great actors and directors, including John Huston, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Nicholas Ray, and Michael Cimino, and between the players their texts were interpreted by Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Paul Muni, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood. Received a nomination Oscar original screenplay by Wake Island (1942) and the great escape (1963). You also must of screenplays for television and radio.


* Little Caesar (Lincoln McVeagh/dial, 1929)

* The Silver Eagle (McVeagh/dial, 1931)

* The Giant Swing (Harper 1932)

* Iron Man (McVeagh/dial, 1932)

* “Saint” Johnson (McVeagh/dial, 1932)

* Dark Hazard (Harper, 1933)

* Goodbye to the Past: Scenes from the Life of William Meadows (Harper, 1934)

* The Goodhues of Sinking Creek (Harper, 1934)

* King Cole (Harper, 1936)

* The Dark Command: A Kansas Iliad 1938 (Knopf)

* High Sierra 1940 (Knopf)

* The Quick Brown Fox 1942 (Knopf)

* Nobody Lives Forever (Knopf, 1943)

* Tomorrow’s Another Day 1945 (Knopf)

* Romelle 1946 (Knopf)

* The Asphalt Jungle 1949 (Knopf)

* Stretch Dawson 1950 (Gold Medal)

* Little Men, Big World 1951 (Knopf)

* Vanity Row (Knopf, 1952)

* Adobe Walls: A Novel of the Last Apache Rising 1953 (Knopf)

* Big Stan (Gold Medal, 1953) (under the pseudonym John Monahan)

* Captain Lightfoot 1954 (Knopf)

* It’s Always Four o’clock (Random House, 1956) (under the pseudonym of James Updyke)

* Pale Moon (Knopf, 1956)

* Underdog 1957 (Knopf)

* Bitter Ground (1958) (Knopf)

* My friend: A Novel of the Southwest 1959 (Knopf)

* Conant (Popular Library, 1961)

* Round the Clock at Volari’s Gold Medal (1961)

* The Goldseekers (Doubleday, 1962)

* The Widow Barony Macdonald (1962)

* The Abilene Samson (Pocket Books, 1963)

* Sergeants 3 (Pocket Books, 1963)

* The Roar of the Crowd: Conversations With an ex-Big-Leaguer (C.N. Potter, 1964)

* The Winning of Mickey Free (Bantam Pathfinder, 1965)

* The Cool Man (Gold Medal, 1968)

* Goodbye, Chicago: 1928, End of an era (St. Martin’s, 1981)