Thomas Berger, Author of 'Little Big Man', Dies 13 Days Short of 90th Birthday

Tags: Dustin Hoffman

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Thomas Berger, the renowned US author best known for his novel Little Big Man - later adapted into a movie starring Dustin Hoffman - has died aged 89. The novelist died in New York state just 13 days before he was due to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Dustin HoffmanDustin Hoffman starred in Thomas Berger's 'Little Big Man'

Little Big Man, about a white boy raised by the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century, reimagined the American West and would prove to be Berger's biggest hit following its release in 1964. The novel became even more popular following the 1970 Hollywood adaptation, which won Dustin Hoffman a BAFTA for best actor. 

Berger was responsible for over 20 novels, including The Feud, about a warring Mid-west community. His 1980 bestseller Neighbours was adapted for the big screen, with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, though Berger shrugged off claims he was a writer of comedy.

"[I] have never thought of my work as being funny except incidentally. I write as I do because that's the way I instinctively look at things," he said, according to the BBC. 

Before a successful career in literature, Berger served in the US army from 1943-46 and used some of his experiences fighting in Europe in his debut novel Crazy in Berlin, published in 1958.

His literary agent Christina Concepcion said Berger had been in failing health for a considerable period. 

Most recently, Berger's novel Meeting Evil was adapted 20 years after its publication for a movie starring Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Wilson. It told the story of a family man sucked into a nightmare by a stranger. 

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