Andrew Porter: Authorities Query
Whether Fire Victim is MacIntyre

By Andrew Porter: An unidentified body, possibly that of Welsh-born author F. [Fergus] Gwynplaine MacIntyre, is being held by the Brooklyn, NY, Medical Examiner’s office, at King’s County Hospital, pending identification. The body, burned beyond recognition, was discovered in the author’s apartment in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn on Friday, June 25th. The Medical Examiner told me that they hoped to find some record of dental or other medical work, and failing that, would likely contact British authorities. If you can provide any useful information, contact the office of the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Google searches reveal MacIntyre — there are questions whether that is his real name — to be highly secretive about his real identity. A source told me that the body was discovered after a suspicious fire, started in four separate places in the apartment, was extinguished. In several places on the internet MacIntyre seemed to be saying goodbye, for instance on IMDB, where a review of the new version of Metropolis posted on June 24th stated, “Nitrate film stock doesn’t last forever, and all good things come to a happy ending. This is my last review here.”

Postscript added by F770: The New York Daily News report of the fire reads:

A Brooklyn man suffering from depression killed himself by setting fire to his apartment Friday, police sources said.

The 59-year-old victim had been telling his Bensonhurst neighbors he no longer wanted to live. On Thursday, he was taken to Coney Island Hospital after police learned he had e-mailed someone close to him a goodbye letter, sources said.

It was not immediately clear why he was released from the hospital. The next morning, fire officials said, the man set two fires inside his cluttered 70th St. apartment and was found dead.

Coincidentally, MacIntyre contributed to the Daily News from 2002 to 2005.

[Congratulations to Andrew Porter, who is celebrating 50 years since his first news column appeared in James V. Taurasi’s Science Fiction Times.]

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

8 thoughts on “Andrew Porter: Authorities Query
Whether Fire Victim is MacIntyre

  1. THE WOMAN BETWEEN THE WORLDS I picked up on a recommendation by Harlan Ellison years ago when he had a segment on a show on the SciFi Channel. Loved the book and I have always wondered whatever happened to McIntyre. In fact I had just recently pulled the book off of one of my bookcases and put it in my book reading order to re-read it. So I have THE WOMAN BETWEEN THE WORLDS sitting next to me to read next.


  2. I got to know Mr. MacIntrye very well on-line some years ago and we were good cyberpals for about a year. He was very kind to me during a difficult period in my life.

    A few things: Fergus told me that he had spent some of his childhood in Australia, that he had been evacuated from Britain during the Second World War, like so many British children. He also stated that he didn’t like Australia. If this is so, he was past seventy when he died (assuming that this isn’t a hoax, and while I wouldn’t put something like this beyond Mr. MacIntyre it appears unlikely).

    Also, in some of the messages I received from him (which I wish I’d saved) and in some of his film reviews, Fergus made mention of having worked for some British media mogul,–I think it was Lew Grade–back in the 60s. If so,–and his encyclopedic knowledge of film and television lore suggests to me that this is–unless he was a teenage prodigy he was an adult by then, which once more inclines me to believe that he was past seventy at the time of his death. Perhaps even way past.

    I’d also like to add that I grew quite fond of Fergus, who wasn’t an easy man to know, and who had a cantankerous streak a mile wide, and I enjoyed his writing immensely. If he has indeed departed I shall miss him greatly even though we’ve long since lost touch with one another.

    John B.

  3. Froggy (as he always signed himself) wrote on his website that he was born in the late 40s and sent to Australia as part of the now regretted UK child migrant scheme, specifically the Children’s Act of 1948. That scheme continued until 1967; the average age of its victims was a little under nine years, suggesting that his exile to Australia was in the later 1950s.

    He wasn’t the most reliable of autobiographers, but those who knew him in person find it hard to believe that he could have been near or past 70.

  4. There is absolutely no question that he was secretive, and it was with good reason. He describes his life experiences in some degree on his website.

    I shall have to wait for the dental verifications to confirm whether or not it was he, and if so, I would not assume that he willfully committed suicide.

    I used to know him very well. We had lost touch, but we wrote back and forth a bit about a year and a half ago. He indicated to me that he felt he had to do some work on himself and was trying to keep himself together. I wished him well, as nothing else could be said.

    There is no such mystery as this that can be met with hope, until the hope is found, but I do hope anyway.

  5. Susan, I hope that it isn’t Fergus but it seems likely that it is.

    Also, I’d rather that it was an accident and that he died in his sleep,–lighted cigarette?–rather than set out to do himself in.

    Does anyone know whether he drank, smoke or took pills? Such a combination can be lethal without suicidal intent.

    The world will be a duller place without him.

  6. I understand that the timing and circumstance of this quote taken from above, “Nitrate film stock doesn’t last forever, and all good things come to a happy ending. This is my last review here” looks very bad. I realize that despite all it may come to pass that it would be confirmed that Froggy has demised, but for the sake of respect, I do not lean in that direction. I can still see life in the statement. I’ve seen Froggy in ways most people have not. We have gone through, as friends, what most people do not. And I feel that there is no circumstance that would force him to sink so low, as to commit suicide. But I also know that there are circumstances that have troubled him in his life. That said, he knew how to take his troubles and turn them into inspirations, like all good writers do. He didn’t implode; he expanded his awareness and gave of his demons the pen and the punctuation. And, according to him a year ago, he was scaling back his routine activities and random writings in order to do just that on several fronts, including a screenplay, and several novels. He announced it on his website. He told me that he needed to have full quiet in his life in order to focus on the things he wanted to focus on, needed to focus on. He also maintained friendships with people who would, in character, be apt to stay in his apartment to provide the illusion of normality, and it could be so this time, as has been suggested to me by someone in a phone conversation but there are no actual confirmations of that either.

    It is as concievable to discover him emerging from an unaware state, finding a hubbub about an overstated demise, as it is to discover his actual demise. It remains the work of the authorities to figure it all out.

  7. I was stunned to just read this news…

    “Froggy” was amongst the first group of fans I ever met at a convention, way back in 1976.

    And he was always an engaging, eccentric character!

    I was delighted when I first started to see him publish.

    And through the years, I’d run into him unexpectedly, once or twice I remember, in Penn Station…

    The only wrinkle not mentioned anywhere involved how I last “heard from” him. One morning, only a few weeks ago, I was listening to WOR Radio, in New York, and there was Fergy, as one of the callers to a local talk radio show.

    While under another name, the voice was unmistakeable.

    I was under the impression that calling was not unusual for him, which didn’t surprise me, since I’d often see “Letters to the Editor” from MacIntyre, in some of the New York newspapers.

    A cliche now, to be sure, but one can only hope that now, finally he’s found some peace.

    Jim Burns

  8. We lost a distant friend in Fergus on 6/25. It’s a long story of how we got involved with him 3 years ago, but his pain was evident to us and we agonized with him and hoped and prayed that he’d change his outlook.
    We’d greatly appreciate any ongoing news about an investigation, or any info re next of kin.
    Thank you.

Comments are closed.