Ted Lewis Biography
Ted Lewis, Novelist, Artist and Musician. Hard or Soft Boiled £6.99 and Getting Carter £11.00 are the biographies of Ted Lewis Purchase them here or from your local store.
Here is a brief summary of the biography which contains details of many escapades and anecdotes from those who knew this engaging artist
Ted Lewis Biography in Brief
Ted Lewis was born in Stretford (home of Old Trafford football ground and the Trafford Centre), a suburb in the conurbation of Manchester on 15th January 1940 and was always known in the family as Edward (his second birth name), After being de-mobbed in 1945, father Harry found employment as a quarry manager the other side of the country in rural North Lincolnshire. The family moved to Barton upon Humber in 1946 where Edward lived and went to school until 1956. As a child, Edward contracted rheumatic fever spending many weeks in his bedroom where he found a talent for drawing and could gaze over the tidal Humber Estuary which he later painted in 1961. The imported comics he read in those days influenced his style and interest in dark subjects which permeated his later writings.
Despite some health based insecurities, the boy developed cheekiness and bravado, ranging with his friends over the wide-open countryside on his doorstep, especially the derelict ‘Old Cements’ which featured in his novel Jack’s Return Home (later Get Carter) and Plender.
A scene from Get Carter, originally ‘The Old Cements’ in Barton upon Humber
Attending Barton Grammar School, Lew, as he was then known as, was influenced by the Head of English, poet, writer and former friend of Dylan Thomas, Henry Treece. The school magazine, The Bartonian, contains three of Edward Lewis short stories in which is future ‘noir’ style of writing was clearly developing. Making strong friendships, the group drank regularly in local pubs from an early age, also enjoying another traditional pastime, visiting cinemas. The boy became fascinated with films and later wrote often using words almost as a screen footage.
Lew studied graphic art at the Hull College of Art and Design from 1956, initially travelling daily but later living in Hull. He graduated with a Diploma in Art and Design in 1960, again attracting another loyal circle of friends especially when he played self-taught piano in the Unity Jazz Band.
Lew’s began a career in graphic art with Westland in 1961 but his skills took him through book illustration and film animation until he achieved the pivotal position as animation clean-up supervisor on the innovative an iconic Beatles’ cartoon film which, Yellow Submarine, was really his last commercial graphic work.
As Ted Lewis, his first autobiographical novel, All the Day Long an All the Way Home an All Through the Night was published in 1965 but it was not until 1970 that he showed his ability as a criminal noir novelist. His new agent Toby Eady was able to place Jack’s Return Home with publishers, Michael Joseph, (which published all Ted’s novels) at the same time selling the film rights to producer, Michael Klinger for £10,000 who gave birth to it as the iconic film, Get Carter, in 1971.
Ted had married Josephine Roome in 1967, the year his mentor, Henry Treece died, and they had two children, Nancy and Sally but sadly the marriage foundered in 1973 amongst the ruins of financial burdens brought about by expensive renovations to the family’s new farmhouse in Suffolk and Ted’s eye-watering bar bills. He continued to write novels and men’s magazine short stories.
Unity Jazz Band by Ted Lewis, courtesy of Jane Marling
‘Z Cars’ scene
In 1974, Ted Lewis returned to Barton where he began to live with his shortly to be widowed mother, Bertha, and later when liaisons with a number of different ladies also broke down. By this time Ted was, sadly, a functioning alcoholic, his output of crime novels being supplemented with writing TV scripts, particularly what had been an innovative police TV series, Z Cars.
Ted Lewis died in 1982 in Scunthorpe, where Jack’s Return Home was originally set, a self- destruction from drink and smoking, aged 42.
Read more details in Ted Lewis Novelist, Artist, Musician. Hard or Soft Boiled by Monty Martin