Sol Yurick, author of the gang novel “The Warriors,” which spawned a cult film and a video game, died on Saturday of lung cancer, his family said Wednesday. He was 87.
Yurick drew on his experiences as an investigator for the New York City Department of Welfare to write “The Warriors,” a 1965 novel about gangs in the city, the New York Times reported.
In a 2003 introduction to a later edition of the novel, Yurick wrote, “some of the children of these families were what was then called juvenile delinquents,” referring to some of the kids he encountered working for the city.
“Many of them belonged to fighting gangs. Some of these gangs numbered in the hundreds; they were veritable armies. This social phenomenon was viewed, on the one hand, as the invasion of the barbarians, only this time they came from the inside rather than from the outside,” the author wrote, according to the Times.
Yurick was praised by other writers following the announcement of his death. The author died less than two weeks before his 88th birthday.
"His work meant a tremendous amount to those who lived in the 60s and 70s," author Jonathan Lethem told the New York Daily News. "He had a talismanic quality. He was of the street, the place, the milieu that couldn't be understood without a grasp of the everyday."
Yurick’s 1965 novel, his first, inspired the 1979 cult classic film of the same name. “The Warriors” movie depicted a Coney Island gang called The Warriors, who were chased by all the other gangs in the city throughout the film after The Warriors were framed for the killing of a gang leader who had tried to unify all of New York City’s underworld figures.
Yurick said in the 2003 edition of his book that he wrote “The Warriors” in part to counter other cultural depictions that glamorized gang life, such as “West Side Story,” the Times noted.
Yurick is survived by his daughter, Susanna Yurick, his wife, Adrienne Yurick, his son-in-law, Mark Vincent, and his grandson, Niko Yurick Vincent, according to WNYC.
News of Yurick’s death spread on Twitter, where users of the micro-blogging site shared their memories of the late author, even if they only knew of his work through “The Warriors” movie.
“I've never read this novel. I should, since this is one of my favorite films of all time. RIP Sol Yurick,” wrote David T. Boyd.
“RIP Sol Yurick. The genius who wrote 'The Warriors.' Sound lad for that he was!” said admirer Louie Magee.
Aside from being adapted into a film, “The Warriors” was also turned into a 2005 video game. The game was published by Rockstar Games, makers of the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise, among other titles.
“RIP Sol Yurick, visionary author of ‘The Warriors,’” the video game publisher’s Twitter account stated.