Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Anthony Di Giannurio (1925-2008)

Aka Anthony Digiannurio, Anthony Vincent
Illustrator, Painter, Architect, Poet, and Novelist
Born August 30, 1925, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died January 12, 2008, Florida

In doing the research for this blog, I have found that real life is often weirder and sometimes more horrifying than fiction. The death of Anthony Digiannurio is a case in point. A retired architect and a veteran of World War II, he was taken from a nursing home to a Florida hospital shortly before he died. Apart from bedsores on his elbow and a catheter inserted incorrectly into his bladder, apart from an infected breathing tube, Digiannurio had maggots in his eye. Put into the care of a nursing home, he had living maggots in his eye. If we were reading about such a thing in an issue of Weird Tales, we would shudder, close the magazine, turn off the light, and sleep soundly. Not so easy in the real world.

Anthony Vincent Digiannurio was born on August 30, 1925, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During World War II, Digiannurio saw combat with the U.S. Army in Europe. Discharged in April 1946 when he was not quite twenty-one, he waited until 1988 to receive a Purple Heart for a wound received on September 8, 1945, after hostilities had ended. While in Europe, he sent an engagement ring to his future wife. The couple were married and spent the next five decades together. On their fortieth anniversary, Digiannurio surprised his wife with the gift of a fully furnished home in Deltona, Florida.

I have made the assumption that the Anthony Digiannurio born in Pittsburgh in 1925, a painter, writer, and architect, was the same Anthony Di Giannurio who created illustrations for Weird Tales, including one cover, during the magazine's last two years in print. If I'm wrong in that assumption, I invite a correction. In any case, the artist Di Giannurio began in a big way with the cover and an interior illustration in the November 1952 issue of Weird Tales. He illustrated at least five more stories before the magazine met its end in September 1954.

If Di Giannurio became Digiannurio, then the young illustrator for Weird Tales went on to become an architect, poet, novelist, and painter. His poems were published in Whiskey Island Magazine, his novel, Defiance (as by Anthony Vincent), in paperback in 2001. (He wrote nine books in all.) Late in life, Digiannurio was placed in a nursing home. In November 2007, he was removed to a DeLand, Florida, hospital where his story made it out into the world. Although he bounced back a little, Digiannurio died two months later, on January 12, 2008.

Anthony Di Giannurio's Illustrations in Weird Tales
Nov. 1952
Nov. 1952 ("Fermentation" by Curtis Casewit)
May 1953 ("I'll Be Back" by David Eynon and "Wife of the Dragon-Fly" by Paul Ernst)
July 1953 ("The Missing Room" by Lyn Venable and "Dread Summons" by Paul Ernst)
Jan. 1954 ("Black Heath" by Farfal Delano)

Further Reading
There are many accounts on the Internet of Anthony Digiannurio's last days. I would rather provide something about his long and productive life.

The cover to Anthony Digiannurio's novel, Defiance, from 2011. The cover artist is unknown, but could the author have created this painting?
Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley


  1. Dear Anonymous,

    I received notification of your comment by email. It is also showing up in the summary of comments for my blog. But it's not showing up in the comments here. I don't know why. In any case, you wanted to know more about this. I assume you mean Anthony Di Giannurio's contributions to Weird Tales magazine. Unfortunately, I don't know any more than what I have written here. My blog entry may be a biography of two different men, but I believe they are the same man based on name, age, and avocation (art). Family members might have the information needed to confirm or deny that they were the same. As for the biographical information on Anthony Digiannurio: a simple Google search will turn up numerous versions of the story of his life and death.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to leave further comment.


  2. My name is Robert Digiannurio - son of Anthony, I never knew of the weird tales book , however even though I never read it I do know of the defiance book