Former Buffalo resident Sloan Wilson, author of the 1950s best sellers "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and "A Summer Place," died Sunday after a long illness. He was 83.
Wilson began his writing career after serving with the Coast Guard in World War II. He worked as a reporter at the Providence Journal in Rhode Island before taking a job with Time-Life.
Wilson wrote "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" while living in Snyder and working as director of the University of Buffalo's Office of Information. The novel, based on his experience with corporate culture, portrays a young executive's struggles with his conscience as he tries to get ahead and provide for his social-climbing wife. The book, published in 1955, became a movie starring Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones.
A later novel, "A Summer Place," also sparked controversy with its unusually frank examination of sexual mores in the conservative 1950s. It also received the Hollywood treatment as a film co-starring teen heartthrobs Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee.
Wilson, a Harvard graduate, lived for many years in Florida, where he spent time as distinguished writer in residence at Rollins College and indulged his passion for sailing.