Damon Runyon (1880–1946) is best known today as the source for Nathan Detroit, Miss Adelaide, and the other New York characters of the musical GUYS AND DOLLS (1950). In his own time, however, Runyon was legendary as a sportswriter and feature columnist for the Hearst newspapers. He was also an author of short fiction and a prolific poet of often grimly humorous verse even before he wrote the tales of those Broadway guys and dolls that gave him lasting fame and considerable fortune. So distinctive is his style that his name has become a common adjective, “Runyonesque,” which refers both to a character on the fringes of respectable society, who nevertheless lives by a strict code of outlaw honor, and to a highly distinctive argot. Runyon’s work is still in print the world over and lives on as well in the many films made from his stories, including such classics as Frank Capra’s Lady for a Day (1933), based on Runyon’s touching “Madame La Gimp,” and Little Miss Marker (1934), starring Shirley Temple as Runyon’s diminutive charmer. When Runyon died of throat cancer in 1946, his friend Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I flying ace and president of Eastern Airlines, fulfilled a request in Runyon’s will, and from a plane above Times Square scattered the writer’s ashes over the Broadway that Runyon loved and immortalized.