Early Chronicler Of The Peace Corps Dies In D.C.

Roy Hoopes who wrote, among many other books, The Complete Peace Corps Guide, for Dial Press back in 1968, and was a long time Washington journalist died last week in Silver Springs Maryland. In his lifetime he wrote 30 plus books. Hoopes is best known for his 1982 biography of James M. Cain, who wrote the hard-boiled classics The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce, and Double Indemnity.

The story goes that  Hoopes read an article Cain wrote for the Washington Post in 1975 about columnist Walter Lippmann, and then found Cain, and all-but-forgotten novelist living alone in Hyattsville, Md.  Hoopes wrote a profile of Cain for Washingtonian magazine and talked extensively with Cain before the 85-year-old author died in 1977.

The very definition of a professional writer who lived by his typewriter, Roy Hoopes contributed to hundreds of publications and held many jobs with magazines, newspapers and federal agencies. He wrote books about the steel industry, sports, Hollywood, and politices.  Among his many jobs, Mr. Hoopes was the first managing editor of Washingtonian magazine in 1965, an associate editor at National Geographic and managing editor of High Fidelity magazine. He was a Washington correspondent for Playboy and, from 1987 to 1998, the Washington bureau chief of Modern Maturity magazine. He also wrote a satirical column under the name Peter Potomac for Berkshire Eagle newspaper in Massachusetts from 1957 to 1977.

Hoopes died of pneumonia  on Tuesday in Silver Spring. He was 87.


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  • I reviewed Hoopes’ Cain biography for Newsday. It was a keen and graceful portrayal of a rich and messy life. The book was shorter than many bios, as I recall. (I can’t find my copy.) Hoopes had that old-time-newspaper-guy talent: make your point as clearly as you can and then shut up.

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