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Novelist Sam Greenlee, author of ‘Spook Who Sat by the Door,’ dead at 83 in Chicago

In this photaken Nov. 8 1973 poet novelist Sam Greenlee poses for phoChicago. Greenlee who was best known for his

In this photo taken on Nov. 8, 1973, poet and novelist Sam Greenlee poses for a photo in Chicago. Greenlee, who was best known for his 1969 novel "The Spook Who Sat by the Door," later adapted into a political drama movie, died Monday, May 19, 2014, in Chicago. He was 83. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

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Updated: May 21, 2014 10:32AM



Poet and novelist Sam Greenlee has died in Chicago at the age of 83.

He was best known for his 1969 novel “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” which was later adapted into a political drama movie.

Pemon Rami, a friend who also was a cast member in the movie, said Mr. Greenlee died early Monday.

Mr. Greenlee was one of the first African Americans to join the U.S. foreign service. From 1957 to 1965, he worked for the U.S. Information Agency, serving in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and Greece.

“The Spook Who Sat by the Door” tells the story of a black CIA agent who becomes a revolutionary training young Chicago blacks for a violent rebellion.

Mr. Greenlee’s other works included “Baghdad Blues,” in which he described witnessing the 1958 revolution that brought down Iraq’s British-backed monarchy.



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