Dan Jenkins, 90, chronicler of sports in Raucous Prose, Dies

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"I loved it", wrote David Halberstam in The New York Times Book Review. "I read it to my wife, who does not like football, and she loved it, it's scandalous, mocking American mores, mocking Madison Avenue, mocking racial attitudes, mocking writers like me and it even mocks sports writers for Sports Illustrated like Dan Jenkins. "

" Semi-Tough "was adapted for a 1978 film featuring Burt Reynolds as Billy Clyde Puckett.

Dan Thomas Jenkins was born in Fort Worth on 2 December 1928, although many sources mention the year as 1929. His father, ET Jenkins Jr., known as Bud, was a salesperson, a gambler and apparently a charmer who left the family when Dan was a toddler, although he occasionally appeared to take his son to sporting events.

In a book from 2014, & # 39; His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir & # 39 ;, Mr. Jenkins expressed a penchant for his father, as well as for his mother, Catherine (O & # 39; Hern) Jenkins, whom he described with arch adherence as a self-indulgent person who sold antiques and converted houses "and eventually invented the migraine headache."

From the age of 2 years, Mr. Jenkins grew up – pleased he wrote, despite the depression – in the home of his father's parents. He became the first member of the family to study, at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he played in the golf team. One of his early heroes, the golfer Ben Hogan, also lived in Fort Worth, and Hogan became something of a mentor, admired by Mr. Jenkins for his work ethic, perseverance (Hogan returned to championship golf after he was almost killed in an auto- accident in 1949) and dedication to excellence.

Jenkins got his first job in journalism in the mid-1950s, at The Fort Worth Press, hired by Blackie Sherrod, a writer and editor who would be celebrated in Texas as a Southern Damon Runyon. Mr. Jenkins succeeded Sherrod, whom he named as an influence, as editor for the landing at Sports Illustrated.

Jenkins & # 39; first two marriages ended in a divorce. In 1959 he married June Burrage, whom he knew when he grew up in Fort Worth. She survives him. Besides his daughter, his survivors include his sons Marty and Dan Jr., a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter.

Jenkins & # 39; novel & # 39; Semi-Tough & # 39; became a classic of sports novels and served as the basis for a Burt Reynolds film with the same title.

Jenkins plunged the domestic and earthly wisdom of Fort Worth into a number of books after "Semi-Tough," including the novels "Dead Solid Perfect" (1974), a professional golfer in the swagger Billy Clyde mold, and "Baja Oklahoma" ( 1981), about a spirited waitress and single mother with aspirations to be a country singer; both became television films.

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