Michael Blake (July 5, 1945 – May 2, 2015) was born at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His family traveled to Texas before settling in Southern California where they moved constantly from town to town and Michael Blake moved from school to school.
His writing career began while stationed at Walker Air Force Base when he was assigned to the Public Information Office as assistant editor of the base newspaper, The Strategian. Following separation he pursued his writing as a student journalist at the University of New Mexico. On leaving school in 1970 he continued to write for periodicals. In the seventies he attended film school in Berkeley California and began to write screenplays. At the end of the seventies he relocated to Los Angeles to be closer to the film industry. All through the eighties, one screenplay was made into a movie, a small, independent movie titled Stacy’s Knights that starred a young unknown actor named Kevin Costner. It was Costner who, in early 1986, encouraged Blake to turn an idea for a story about Indians into a novel. Dances With Wolves, after much rejection, was published in paperback and to little fanfare in 1988. In late 1989 however, the film written by Blake and based upon his novel, was released to worldwide acclaim. In 1990 the writer won every major award for his effort, including the Oscar.
While continuing to write in the years following Blake embarked a long period of public service which was acknowledged with many more awards, among them the Eleanor Roosevelt award for work with minorities, the Animal Protection Institute’s Humanitarian of the year, the U.S. Air Force’s Americanism Award and the American library Association’s Library Hero Award. Blake’s second novel Airman Mortensen, an autobiographical tale of his military adventures, was published in 1991 , a non-fiction novel of Custer’s last days followed in 1996 and The Holy Road, sequel to Dances With Wolves, was published late in 2001.