Walter Stone Tevis (February 28, 1928 - August 8, 1984) was an American novelist and short story writer. Three of his six novels were adapted into major films: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His books have been translated into at least 18 languages.
Tevis was born in San Francisco, California and grew up in the Sunset District, near the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Park. When he was ten years old, his parents placed him in the Stanford Children's Convalescent home for a year while they returned to Kentucky, where the family had been given a grant of land in Madison County. At the age of 11, Tevis traveled across country alone on a train to rejoin his family.
Near the end of WWII, the 17-year-old Tevis served in the Pacific Theater as a Navy carpenter's mate on board the USS Hamilton. After his discharge, he graduated from Model High School in 1945 and entered the University of Kentucky, where he received B.A. (1949) and M.A. (1954) degrees in English literature and studied with A. B. Guthrie, Jr., the author of The Big Sky. While a student there, Tevis worked in a pool hall and published a story about pool written for Guthrie's class. He later attended the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he received a M.F.A. in creative writing in 1960.
After graduation, Tevis wrote for the Kentucky Highway Department and taught everything from the sciences and English to physical education in small-town Kentucky high schools in Science Hill, Hawesville, Irvine and Carlisle. He also taught at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, and Southern Connecticut State University. Tevis married his first wife, Jamie Griggs, in 1957, and they remained together for 27 years.
Tevis taught English literature and creative writing at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio from 1965 to 1978, where he was named University Professor. A member of the Authors Guild, he spent his last years in New York City as a full-time writer. He died there of lung cancer in 1984 and is buried in Richmond, Kentucky.