David Morrell (born April 24, 1943 in Kitchener, Ontario) is a Canadian-American novelist, best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become the successful Rambo film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. He has written 28 novels, and his work has been translated into 26 languages. He has also written the 2007-2008 Captain America comic book miniseries The Chosen.
Morrell decided to become a writer at the age of 17, after being inspired by the writing in the classic television series Route 66. Morrell moved to the United States in 1966 to study with Hemingway scholar Philip Young at Pennsylvania State University, where he would eventually receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in American literature. During his time at Penn State he also met science fiction writer Philip Klass, better known by the pseudonym William Tenn, who taught the basics of writing fiction.
Morrell began work as an English professor at the University of Iowa in 1970. In 1972, his novel First Blood was published; it would eventually be made into the 1982 film of the same name starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo. Morrell continued to write many other novels, including The Brotherhood of the Rose, the first in a trilogy of novels, which was adapted into a 1989 NBC miniseries starring Robert Mitchum. Eventually tiring of the two professions, he gave up his tenure at the university in 1986 in order to write full time.
Morrell's teenaged son Matthew died of Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer in 1987. The trauma of his loss influenced Morrell's work, in particular in his exciting creative fiction memoir about Matthew, Fireflies. The protagonist of Morrell's novel Desperate Measures also experiences the loss of a son.
Morrell is the co-president of the International Thriller Writers organization.
Morrell is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School for wilderness survival as well as the G. Gordon Liddy Academy of Corporate Security. He is also an honorary lifetime member of the Special Operations Association and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
According to his website, he has been trained in firearms, hostage negotiation, assuming identities, executive protection, and anti-terrorist driving, among numerous other action skills that he describes in his novels. He recently received his FAA licence to pilot his own small plane.