Charles Perry (author)
Charles Perry (1924–1969) was an African American author whose only published novel was Portrait of a Young Man Drowning. He was born in Savannah, Georgia, but moved to Brooklyn when he was still in grade school. During the 1940s, he was a co-star of the hit radio series New World A-Coming.
Portrait of a Young Man Drowning draws heavily on Perry's first hand research of gangsters and juvenile delinquents in his own Brooklyn neighbourhood. An homage to James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the novel is written in the first person and tells the story of Harold, a young man who gets sucked into Brooklyn's underworld scene, while living with an overbearing mother. The novel was considered ground-breaking when it was first published in 1962, not least because it was one of the first novels written in the first person by a black author with a white protagonist.
Perry soon began work on a semi-autobiographical account of the death of his 11-year-old son, who died falling from a tree onto a rod iron fence. Charles Jr., entitled I Wake Up Screaming.
He died of cancer.
As well as writing Perry also appeared in over 30 films mainly in minor roles.