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THEODORE MARK GOTTFRIED

1928 - 2004

Writing as: Ted Mark


According to the obituary in the Sun: "Ted Gottfried, who died March 7, was the author of more than 100 books, many of them nonfiction volumes for younger readers on topics as diverse as Holocaust denial, famed inventors, and "Libya: Desert Land in Conflict." Yet it was as the pseudonymous author of dozens of so-called pulps,cheap paperbacks with racy and exploitative plots, that he had his greatest success.

Beginning in the 1960s, and writing under the name of Ted Mark, he churned out such turgid titles as "The Nude Wore Black," "The Square Root of Sex," and "I Was a Teeny Bopper for the CIA." His books often featured the then ultra-fashionable demimonde of spies and beautiful women, and it was with a series of books titled "The Man From O.R.G.Y." that he made his mark on the best-seller list.

The O.R.G.Y. books were so satirical - the immediate reference was to the series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." - that not even their hero, the gamely named Steve Victor, took his missions seriously. "O.R.G.Y. is the Organization for the Rational Guidance of Youth," Gottfried wrote by way of introduction to "Here's Your Orgy" (1969). "It's a one-man operation devoted to sex research with 'guidance' actually a secondary function - which I admit, hasn't ever really been exercised. I see myself as carrying on the traditions of Dr. Kinsey. The difference is that I've cut out the paperwork and substituted a personalized methodology."

Always topical, the action in the O.R.G.Y. books traipses lightly across the world stage, with a stop at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and even touching on the Tet offensive, which takes on a new shade of meaning for "offensive": "I was personally attacked by a Cong guerilla complete with bayonet, black pajamas, and breasts shaped like hand grenades, only bigger and better." In later years, when his writing had taken up more serious topics, Gottfried would say that he felt an uneasy combination of chagrin and pride in his pulp productions. Having become an ardent supporter of feminist causes, he felt he had portrayed women in too stereotypical a light. Yet, he was gratified that the books remained popular with pulp enthusiasts - they are a staple on eBay. The books were part of a minor brouhaha in 1969, when it was found that the Job Corps had been purchasing them for use in remedial reading classes.

"The Man From O.R.G.Y.," the first of the series, was made into a film of the same name in 1970. It opened to distinctly muted reviews, nipping what might otherwise have been a promising film-writing career in the bud. The NewYork Times film critic wrote,"A certain charming innocence pertains to all the low-level vulgarity, as it does to the plump, often pretty girls themselves, with their piled-up hairdo's, their freighted eyelids, and their brave little attempts to say their lines." Yet the film was somehow inspirational; it "resembles not so much a movie as a last bastion of individualist freeenterprise against the encroaching collectivism of our society."

Ted Gottfried was born in the Bronx, the only son of Russian immigrants who eventually settled in Far Rockaway. His father was a World War I veteran and a tool maker whose business suffered greatly during the Depression. Young Ted harbored from an early age the ambition of becoming a writer, and after just a year of college went to work as an office boy in the publicity department at Warner Brothers. In the 1950s, he began working as a writer for the men's magazine Scamp. His first book, "The Midway at Midnight,"was published under the pseudonym Leslie Behan in 1964. Thereafter, writing on his favorite Underwood typewriter for 10-12 hours daily, he seldom produced less than four or five books a year, and business boomed. He moved his growing family to Cedarhurst, and was enough of a local celebrity that Newsday ran a two-page spread on the best-selling author who'd moved to town.

His relationship with his initial publisher, Walter Zacharius of Lancer Press, soured, but he soon had a multibook deal with Dell, and later, writing as Blakely Saint James, with Playboy Paperbacks. In the late 1970s, his output slowed somewhat as he took over as editor of Drake Publications, and also for a time of the skin magazine High Society. In 1980, he was among the authors who gathered to found the National Writers Union, a group that advocates for authors.

He continued to produce mainly pseudonymous, literate smut until the late 1980s, when he started writing under his own name. Writing mostly for younger readers, he penned biographies of Georges Clemenceau and Enrico Fermi. Issue-oriented titles followed, including "Public Safety and the Right to Bear Arms" and "Individual Right V. Social Needs." He was particularly proud of a series of books about the Holocaust, with separate volumes treating child victims, Nazi perpetrators, and those who deny it everhappened.

When he was a young man he had driven to Mississippi to march for civil rights. When he was older, he marched for women's rights. Slated to be published in August is "The Quest For Peace: A History of the Anti-War Movements in America." A passionate liberalism continued to pour from his pen virtually to the end of his life. Theodore Mark Gottfried Born October 19, 1928, in the Bronx; died March 7 inManhattan of complications of cancer of the neck; survived by his wife, Harriet, five children, Julie, Daniel, Katherine, Toby, and Valerie; two step-daughters, Melanie and Lisa, and 12 grandchildren."



Series Books
 
The Girl From Pussycat The Girl From Pussycat (1965)
  Pussycat, Pussycat (1966)
  The Pussycat Transplant (1968)
 
The Man From CHARISMA The Man From Charisma (1970)
  Right On, Relevant (1971)
  Rip It Off, Relevant (1971)
 
The Man From O.R.G.Y. The Man From O.R.G.Y. (1965)
  The 9-Month Caper (1965)
  The Real Gone Girls (1966)
  Dr. Nyet (1966)
  My Son, The Double Agent (1966)
  A Hard Day's Knight (1966)
  Room At The Topless (1967)
  Back Home At The O.R.G.Y. (1968)
  Come Be My O.R.G.Y. (1968)
  Here's Your O.R.G.Y. (1969)
  Around The World Is Not A Trip (1973)
  Dial O For O.R.G.Y. (1973)
  Beauty And The Bug (1975)
  Thy Neighbor's O.R.G.Y. (1980)
  The Tight End (1981)
 
Other The Ted Mark Reader (1966)
  Square Root of Sex (1967)
  I Was a Teenybopper for the CIA (1967)
  Circle of Sin (1967)
  The Nude Wore Black (1967)
  Nude Who Never (1967)
  This Nude for Hire (1969)
  The Nude Who Did (1970)
  Regina Blue (1972)
  A Stroke of Genius (1982)
  A Stroke of Lightning (1982)