Pete Martin (1901 - 1980)

A photo of Pete Martin
Pete Martin
1901 - 1980
April 3, 1901
Charlottesville, Virginia United States
October 13, 1980
Birchrunville, PA in Birchrunville, Chester County, Pennsylvania United States 19425
Other Names
William Thornton Martin Jr
Pete Martin was born on April 3, 1901 in Charlottesville, Virginia United States. He died on October 13, 1980 at Birchrunville, PA, Birchrunville, Pennsylvania United States at 79 years old.
Updated: September 28, 2021
"PETE MARTIN" worked for the Saturday Evening Post and published many books and magazines.
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Pete Martin
Most commonly known as
Pete Martin
Full name
William Thornton Martin Jr
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Pete move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Pete Martin was born on in Charlottesville, Virginia United States
Pete Martin died on at Birchrunville, PA in Birchrunville, Chester County, Pennsylvania United States 19425
Heart Attack
Cause of death
October 14, 1980
Burial / Funeral

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Episcopalian. "St. Andrew's Episcopal Church"


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New York Times Obituary. + Philadelphia A memorial service will be held Friday for William... PHILADELPHIA -- A memorial service will be held Friday for William Thornton Martin Jr., better known to thousands of Saturday Evening Post readers as Pete Martin through his 'I Call On ...' interviews. Martin died Monday of a heart attack at his Birchrunville home. He was 79. Martin, one of the most prolific of the Post's stable of non-fiction writers, was senior writer, associate editor, and entertainment editor for more than a decade during the magazine's heyday. He left the magazine in 1962 when it moved from Philadelphia to New York but continued to do freelance work for it. His last story was about Johnny Carson and the Academy Awards show. During his 37 years with the Post, Martin produced nearly 500 articles, 105 of them 'I Call On...' interviews with celebrities. It was a style he developed in Hollywood when he used a tape-recorder to do extensive interviews with movie stars. His first was an eight-part interview with Bing Crosby in 1953, which later became the book, 'Call Me Lucky.' That interview, and one with Bob Hope, set circulation records for the Post. Martin also ghosted books, including so many 'as told to Pete Martin' books that in a 1963 interview he said he had 'the dubious distinction of being one of the most famous ghosts in the writing business.' He turned his tape-recorded interviews into a book in 1962 and had a long string of titles under his own name to his credit, as well as hundreds of short articles. He is survived by his wife, Virginia Bird Martin, also an author, and a son, a daughter, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Services will be at 11 a.m. in St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Glenmoore, Pa.

1901 - 1980 World Events

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In 1901, in the year that Pete Martin was born, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded. Chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896, had provided in his will for prizes in physics, chemistry, and physiology or medicine, who have produced the most distinguished literary work of an idealist tendency, and who have contributed the most toward world peace. The winners in 1901 were: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen for physics, Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff for chemistry, Emil Adolf von Behring for physiology or medicine, Sully Prudhomme for literature, and Jean Henry Dunant and Frédéric Passy for peace.

In 1945, Pete was 44 years old when on June 22nd, the Battle of Okinawa ended. A joint Army and Marine campaign, supported by the Navy, the Battle of Okinawa went on for 82 days. The last Japanese resistance on Okinawa was defeated. 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel were killed in the battle on the US side. It is estimated that 110,071 on the Japanese side were killed - the estimate includes Okinawan citizens who were pressed into service and includes children. With the win of Okinawa, the United States gained an important base of operations in the Pacific.

In 1967, he was 66 years old when on October 2nd, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black US Supreme Court justice. Marshall was the great-grandson of a slave and graduated first in his class at Howard University Law School. His nomination to the Supreme Court was approved by the Senate, 69 to 11.

In 1974, he was 73 years old when on August 9th, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States. He had been Vice President for 8 months when he became President due to the resignation of President Nixon.

In 1980, in the year of Pete Martin's passing, on December 8th, ex-Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of his home - the Dakota - in New York City. Chapman was found guilty of murder and still remains in jail.

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