Jim Lawrence was
born on October 22, 1918, in Detroit. His youth took him from
Academy in Annapolis to Detroit's Wayne
University, where he earned a degree in education, over
the Detroit Institute of Technology, achieving a degree in
mechanical engineering during a summer, to teaching art at
Detroit public schools during 1940. On the side he also worked
as a factory hand, office clerk and safety engineer to support
himself and his wife Marie, whom he had married in 1939, and
with whom he had six children.
His true call came
in the Spring of 1941, when he was hired as writer by the
Handy Organization, a producer of short educational and
commercial movies. His assignments there were scripts for
naval and military training films, but after some time he
also did some freelance writing for youth publications.
In 1944 he decided
to go full-time as a freelancer, writing magazine articles
and scripts, and by 1949 his writing focus almost entirely
shifted from non-fiction to fiction when he took up writing
for a radio show called "Challenge of the Yukon."
Many other radio shows, like "The Green Hornet"
and "The Silver Eagle," followed, as well as magazine
articles, comic strips (which he also sometimes illustrated)
and books. He is well known for his contributions to series
Drew" and "Tom
Steve "Woz" Wozniak, one of the founding fathers
of Apple, quotes them
as one of his main inspirations for his interest
The first thing
Jim saw about Infocom was the review of "Deadline"
in the New
York Times Book Review and as an accomplished writer
he immediately became interested in this company from Massachusetts
that wrote stories you could participate in.
He went to visit
Infocom and almost instantly reached agreement for a job.
The first task he then was assigned to was writing "Seastalker"
together with Stu Galley,
with whom he also worked on "Moonmist."
Benefitting from his great writing experience, Jim almost
got poor Stu out of his mind, when he continued to make a
plot more and more dense, which ended in him telling Stu:
"Don't worry, Stu. I've gotten heroes out of much tougher
situations than this."
with Infocom had originally been over three games, but after
their takeover of Infocom (see History)
Activision paid him out of it.
After his time
with Infocom Jim slowed down his work as a writer and refrained
from high profile jobs. Instead, considering his age, he decided
to spend more time with his family.
Jim Lawrence died
to Jim Lawrence Jr. for contributing to this biography.