Oscar Fraley

Oscar Fraley (August 2, 1914 – January 6, 1994) was an American sports writer and author, perhaps best known, with Eliot Ness, as the co-author of the American memoir The Untouchables.[1]

Oscar Fraley
Born(1914-08-02)2 August 1914
Philadelphia, United States
DiedJanuary 6, 1994(1994-01-06) (aged 79)
Notable worksThe Untouchables
ChildrenTimothy Fraley (son)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Fraley grew up across the Delaware River in Woodbury, New Jersey.[1][2] He graduated from Woodbury Junior-Senior High School in 1934, and was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 2010.[3]


He worked for United Press International as a sports reporter from 1940 to 1965 but still managed to write during his free time. Over the course of his lifetime, Fraley penned 31 books, including Hoffa, The Real Story (Stein and Day, 1975).[1]

The UntouchablesEdit

In 1956, he was introduced to Ness while working as a reporter for UPI. It was this encounter that served as the inspiration for The Untouchables (1957).[1] By 1957, Fraley had written most of the proofs for the manuscript of the book. Ness read these proofs shortly before his own death that same year, and the book was released a month after Ness's death.[4]

The Untouchables sold 1.5 million copies and served as the basis for the television series and movie of the same name.[1] This book, among Fraley's other books about the Untouchables, was heavily spiced with fiction, including fictional characters and events in order to make the books more appealing to a general audience. The 21-page manuscript that Ness wrote for the book was a more trustworthy source and only included the real events that Ness experienced during his career. Ness's manuscript is housed in the archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.[5]

The book was adapted in multiple media and inspired many additional works. The best-known eponymous adaptations include the 1959 TV series The Untouchables starring Robert Stack as Ness and narrated by Walter Winchell, the 1987 film The Untouchables by Brian De Palma starring Kevin Costner as Ness and featuring Sean Connery and Robert De Niro, and the short-lived 1993 TV series The Untouchables.


Oscar Fraley died on January 6, 1994, in Fort Lauderdale at Broward General Hospital. The cause was heart failure after surgery for a strangulated hernia.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Oscar Fraley, 79, 'Untouchables' Author". The New York Times. January 9, 1994. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  2. ^ IMDB - Oscar Fraley filmography. Accessed April 14, 2008.
  3. ^ Shyrock, Bob. "Bob Shryock: Untouchables author to be inducted into Hall of Fame", NJ.com, September 16, 2010. Accessed September 6, 2019. "Oscar Fraley, who launched his award-winning career as a sports journalist in Woodbury and went on to write 31 books, including “The Untouchables” he co-authored with Eliot Ness, will be posthumously inducted into the Woodbury High School Hall of Fame Saturday, Oct. 16 at Auletto’s in Almonesson.... Fraley, WHS Class of 1934 and nicknamed 'Oakie,' worked the national beat as a sportswriter for United Press International from 1940-65 and in 1956 met Ness, serving as the inspiration for their book."
  4. ^ "Whatever happened to Eliot Ness after the trial of Al Capone?". Ask Yahoo!.
  5. ^ McFarland, Marilyn; Stone, Mark Wade (January 2012). "Eliot Ness". Cleveland Police Museum/Cleveland Police Historical Society. Archived from the original on 28 August 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2013.

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