Armitage Trail

Armitage Trail (July 18, 1902 - October 10, 1930) was the pseudonym of Maurice Coons, an American pulp fiction author, best known for his 1930 novel Scarface.

This novel depicted a fictionalized account of the rise of gangster Al Capone. It was adapted into the 1932 film Scarface directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Howard Hughes. The 1932 film was later modernized and remade as 1983's Scarface. His only other significant work is detective novel The Thirteenth Guest, though Coons is speculated to have written under a variety of pen names.

In his early adulthood in Chicago, Trail spent nights socializing with gang members in order to gain materials for Scarface. Though Trail never formally met Al Capone, the latter may have known of the work. After the release of the 1932 film, at which point Trail was already dead, Capone reportedly sent some of his men to question screenwriter Ben Hecht after Capone was offended at the 1932 film's portrayal of him by actor Paul Muni.

Producer Howard Hughes approached Trail about his novel with the interest of adapting it to film. Trail sold the rights to Scarface to Hughes for $25,000, moving to Los Angeles in the process. After selling the rights to Scarface, Trail began to struggle with potential alcoholism. He lived flamboyantly in Hollywood, rapidly gaining weight, wearing wide-brimmed Borsalino hats, and hiring a servant. Trail died of a heart attack at the Paramount Theatre in 1930, aged 28.


Search for authors/books

Search database