Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: William Randolph Fowler Collection
Fowler, Will, 1922-
Physical Description: 31.61 linear feet
Alternate Extent Statement: 97.8 GB of Digital
Language of Materials:
Abstract: The William (Will) Randolph Fowler
Collection highlights the literary works of Will and his father Gene Fowler. Gene is
best known as a New York newspaperman and screen writer for 20
th Century Fox. Will Fowler is known for his many endeavors, including
musician, newspaperman, publicist, and author. The collection contains materials written
by both Fowlers, including articles as they appeared when published, correspondence,
drafts, galley proofs, typescripts, and musical scores as well as photographs and audio
This collection was processed with generous support from the Tom W. Reilly
William Randolph Fowler (1922-2004) was born in New York in 1922. He and his family
moved to Southern California in 1935. Fowler attended Beverly Hills High School,
graduating in 1940.
Throughout his life, Fowler engaged in a number of occupations. He became a member of
the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1939 after writing the hit
He’s so Married with Jimmie Dodd. He worked as an
actor and newspaper reporter in addition to later work as publicist, playwright,
novelist, and composer. Fowler joined the staff of the
in 1944. As a newspaper man, he is remembered for his claim of being
first on the scene of the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, the "Black
Dahlia." He also followed the cases of executed killer Louise Peete, and Beulah
Louise Overell and her lover George "Bud" Gollum. Fowler left the
Examiner in 1947, but returned to the newspaper business in
1949 when he joined the
Los Angeles Herald & Express
staff under city editor Agness Underwood.
After his father's death in 1960, Fowler resigned from his position as News
Director at local television station KTTV to write Gene Fowler’s biography,
The Young Man From Denver (1962). Other literary works by
The Second Handshake (1980),
The Reporters (1991),
(undated manuscript), and
Odyssey of a Spring
Fowler married his high school girlfriend, Beverly Blanchard, and the two had four
children, Will Jr., Michael, Claudia, and Jenny. Fowler died in April 2004 after a long
bout with cancer.
This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Journalists -- California -- Los
Journalism -- California -- Los
April Feldman, 2013
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has not been transferred to California State University,
Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or
reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of
the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt Library, California
State University, Northridge.
Arrangement of Materials:
Series I: William Randolph Fowler Files, 1891-2001
Subseries A: Articles by William Randolph Fowler, 1946-1989
Subseries B: Books by William Randolph Fowler, 1946-2001
Subseries C: Newspaper Coverage by William Randolph Fowler, 1945-1952
Subseries D: Plays and Screen Scripts, 1938-2000
Subseries E: Office Files, 1891-2000
Subseries F: Music and Musical Scores, 1940-1986
Series II: Gene Fowler Files, 1915-1963
Subseries A: Literary Works by Gene Fowler, 1922-1961
Subseries B: Office Files, 1915-1963
Series III: William Randolph Fowler Research Files, 1909-1997
Scope and Contents
The William Randolph Fowler Collection documents the career of author and composer Will
Fowler. The collection also contains manuscript drafts and office files produced by
Will's father, Gene Fowler, a biographer and newspaperman. Included in the papers
are drafts, corrected typescripts, galley proofs, published manuscripts, and transcripts
and notes for the articles, books, plays, screen scripts and short stories written by
both men. The collection also includes musical scores and photographs, and has been
divided into three series: William Randolph Fowler Files (1891-2001), Gene Fowler Files
(1915-1963), and William Randolph Fowler Research Files (1909-1997).
Series I, William Randolph Fowler Files, documents the writings of Will Fowler, and
includes correspondence as well as manuscripts for numerous works, including articles,
books, and musical scores. Materials are separated into six subseries: Subseries A,
Articles of William Randolph Fowler (1946-1989), includes materials published in
magazines, newspapers, and other publications are filed alphabetically by article title.
Subseries B, Books by William Randolph Fowler (1946-2001) consists of notes, drafts,
galley proofs, and other iterations of manuscripts including photographs, and is filed
alphabetically by title. Subseries C, Newspaper Coverage by William Randolph Fowler
(1945-1952), consists of newspaper clippings documenting some of the news stories Fowler
covered as a reporter for Hearst papers in Los Angeles, and is filed chronologically.
Subseries D, Plays and Screen Scripts, (1938-2000) consists of script drafts filed
alphabetically by title. Subseries E, Office Files (1891-2000), represents Fowler's
personal and professional dealings, reflecting the association of the Fowler family with
figures such as Ben Hecht and H. Allen Smith, as well as his business relationship with
author Robert Slatzer. The subseries consists of contracts, correspondence, Fowler
family genealogical information including family photographs, legal files, scrapbooks,
and audio and video recordings. Non-manuscript material is arranged by format. This
series is filed alphabetically. Subseries F, Music and Musical Scores (1940-1986),
includes scores authored by Fowler, some of which are accompanied by audio recordings.
Non-manuscript material is arranged by format. The series is filed alphabetically by
Series II, Gene Fowler Files, documents work by Gene Fowler. This series is divided into
two subseries. Subseries A, Literary Works by Gene Fowler (1922-1961), includes
manuscript drafts for such titles as
Illusions in Java
Lady Scatterly's Lovers (1973) and
Queen Christina (ca. 1933), and a taped recording of John
Barrymore reading "The Cowboys Lament" written by Gene Fowler. Also included
are transcripts from an in-depth interview with entertainer Red Skelton and his wife
conducted in early 1951. Subseries B, Office Files (1915-1963), documents some of Gene
Fowler's professional and personal relationships, and consists primarily of
correspondence that is filed alphabetically.
Series III, William Randolph Fowler Research Files, contains research files for Will
Fowler’s writing projects. These files consist of correspondence, clippings, and notes
and include significant material regarding his father Gene as well as recorded
interviews and conversations conducted by or with Will Fowler for the writing of his
The Reporters with Agnes Bane, Jim Murray, Gus Newman,
and Agness Underwood, among others. Of particular interest are the interviews for the
investigation of the "Black Dahlia Murder Case" with Edward and Alice Miller.
There are also extensive audio-recordings of interviews and discussions between Will
Fowler and Robert F. Slatzer, Frank Capell, Harlan V. Baker, Bob Yeager, doctors
Gulligsrud, Wisley, and Choi, and others during the investigation and writing of the
The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe.
Please note that some of the language and/or content may be inappropriate or offensive
to some patronsand that recordings are of varying quality. Non-manuscript material is
arranged by format. The series is filed alphabetically.