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Marshall Houts; Wrote Book That Was Basis of 'Quincy' TV Show


Marshall Houts, FBI agent, lawyer, professor and author of 44 books, including "Where Death Delights," on which the "Quincy, M.E." television series was based, has died. He was 74.

Houts died Wednesday in Laguna Niguel, his son, Tim Houts, said.

In 1959, the author also created Trauma magazine, a medical journal for emergency room physicians, which he edited and published until his death.

Marshall Wilson Houts was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., the son of a Methodist preacher. He studied at Brevard College in North Carolina and the University of Minnesota Law School and became an FBI agent in Brazil and Cuba.

During World War II, Houts moved from the FBI to the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. He was tapped to parachute into the Japanese-held island of Macao because he could speak the indigenous language of Portuguese. He also worked behind enemy lines in Burma.

Houts practiced law in Minnesota, served five years as a Municipal Court judge, then moved to Los Angeles, where he was general counsel to author Erle Stanley Gardner's Court of Last Resort from 1951 to 1961. He investigated 600 murder cases for Gardner, and won freedom for 41 wrongly convicted people. Gardner's widow gave Houts the desk on which Gardner wrote most of his Perry Mason mysteries.

Houts later taught law at UCLA, Michigan State University and Pepperdine University, and taught forensic pathology at UC Irvine Medical School.

His books primarily dealt with law and medicine, including the one on which "Quincy, M.E.," about a county coroner, was based.

Houts is survived by his wife, Mary, and seven children. The family has asked that memorial donations be made to Brevard College.

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