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Moore, Robin (31 October 1925-21st February 2008)

Author, lyricist, and veteran of two wars, Robin Moore is perhaps most famous for penning The Green Berets, later to become the film of the same name starring John Wayne, and for co-writing “The Ballad of the Green Berets” with Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler.  It was actually Moore who encouraged Sadler to write the song.

Moore was already a World War II vet when his fellow Harvard student Bobby Kennedy aided him in getting involved in a Special Forces unit in Vietnam.  He had been a nose gunner over Germany at the end of WWII.  Now he was helping to train a new generation of soldier.  To this day, Special Forces soldiers cite The Green Berets as one of the things that inspired them to enlist.  Moore was so respected in the Special Forces community he was allowed access to a couple of modern military theaters, including Uzbekistan, where he gathered information for his book The Hunt For Bin Laden.  He later washed his hands of the book when he found out that his main source had exaggerated his role in the operation and had misrepresented facts.  The book is now out of print.  In spite of this literary mishap, he went to Iraq in 2003, at the age of 78, to research the similarly titled Hunting Down Saddam.

A prolific writer, Robin Moore has left a legacy in film, as well.  In addition to his work on The Green Berets, he wrote other books that have made it to the big screen, most notably The French Connection:  A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy, and The Happy Hooker:  My Own Story, which was co-written with Yvonne Dunleavy and Xaviera Hollander.  Not all of his movie endeavours have been successful, however.  Hot Pants Holiday is unlikely to be on any AFI lists soon, and Moore was also responsible for the screenplay of 1982’s Inchon, one of the biggest box-office flops in motion-picture history.  It cost an estimated $46,000,000 to make and took in less than a quarter of that in ticket sales.  He also lent his voice to an animated film called Blinky Bill, in 1992.

His book, The Wars of the Green Berets:  Amazing Stories from Vietnam to the Present, hit the shelves in June 2007.

He passed away in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 2008 after a long illness.  He was 82 years old.

Barry Sadler recordings
The Ballad of the Green Berets (Robin Moore/Barry Sadler)