Eustace Cockrell was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, in 1909. Like his father and his grandfather before him, he left home to pursue his own dream, the dream of being a writer.
Eventually that dream led him to Hollywood where he became, along with his brother Frank (Francis M.), one of the early writers for the growing television industry. While under contract with Warner Brothers, Eustace wrote for many of the popular western shows (Have Gun Will Travel, Maverick, etc.). He also contributed scripts to such diverse programs as the Loretta Young Show, The Naked City, I Spy and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Pulp Fiction Magazines
Prior to the advent of television, however, Eustace was a major contributor to “pulp” fiction magazines such as Blue Book and Argosy as well as to “slick” publications like Colliers, Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. Several of his stories became screenplays including Fast Company (1953), starring Howard Keel and Polly Bergen, and Tennessee Champ (1954) with Charles Bronson and Shelly Winters.
Family of Writers
Eustace was literally surrounded by a family of writers. As he wrote in one of his short stories, “It was inevitable … that he end up as a writer: his sister married a writer; his brother was a writer, married a writer; another sister was also a writer.” In 1939, Eustace himself married a writer, Betty Barnett. Together they had four children – Leacy, Geoffrey, Frederick and Elizabeth.
From 1951 to 1955, Eustace was the political correspondent and later the managing editor of Fortnight Magazine, a California news magazine. He was the ghostwriter of The Stardust Road, an autobiography of songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.
Eustace died in 1972 and though the storyteller has long since passed, the gift of his stories remains.