Ron McLarty, the character actor who became a published author thanks to a rave review by Stephen King of the audio version of one of his unpublished books, died February 8, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. He was 72.
McLarty had regular roles on TV's Spenser for Hire, Cop Rock and Law & Order as well as appeared in a series of movies. He was also a major audiobook narrator with more than 100 credits for titles by King, Danielle Steel, David Baldacci, Anne Rice, Richard Russo, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, Scott Turow and George W. Bush.
In 2001, Recorded Books produced McLarty's novel The Memory of Running as an audiobook even though it had not been published in print. As the Hollywood Reporter recounted: "King heard it and loved the story--about a 43-year-old man who, after his parents die, takes a cross-country road trip on an old Raleigh bicycle to find his sister's body--and in 2003 devoted one of his 'The Pop of King' columns in Entertainment Weekly to it, calling Memory 'the best book you can't read.' "
As a result of King's endorsement, there was a bidding war for The Memory of Running, which was published in print in 2004 by Viking Press. McLarty later published three other books, Traveler, Art in America and The Dropper.