Paul Baker Rawlings, Jr. was born on April 27, 1929 in Groton, CT. He was the son of Rose Swetman Rawlings and Paul Baker Rawlings, Sr. He was raised by his mother and his Aunt Ollie Swetman. After he graduated from Boys’ High School (Atlanta, GA) in 1946, he attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950. He also served in the Navy and was stationed in Europe.
His passion for writing short stories and plays took him to New York City where he met his partner, Nicholas Tambasco. They lived on Grove Street in the heart of Greenwich Village for many years until they moved to Bayport, Long Island. It was during this time that Paul and Nick also purchased a home in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, where they spent many summers with their dogs.
In the 1960’s Paul worked for Pepsi-Cola, and it was there that he met Joan Crawford who was serving on the board of directors. He was a big fan of hers as well as other actors and actresses of the time. He was fascinated with Hollywood which fueled his passion for writing.
On February 12, 1980, he had achieved one of his greatest accomplishments by receiving a very favorable review from a NYTimes critic who reviewed his musical in which he wrote the play and lyrics. “Fair Play For Eve” played at 3 Muses, The Ansonia, Broadway at West 73rd St. Another play, “Two Brothers Who Are Not Brothers” was produced at the Players Theatre in Greenwich Village. In 2008, “Dinner With Ahmed” played at the American Theatre of Actors – Sargent Theatre (314 W. 54th St.) Paul wrote many plays that were produced for local theaters including the Northport Playhouse and the Patchogue Theater. Other published works include “Shorts, Six One-Act Plays”, “Major Claude Eatherly Enters Into Heaven”, and “Island”. One of his last plays that he wrote was titled “Verta Lee” and was dedicated to his beloved cousin-in-law, Mrs. Verta Lee Swetman. The play focused on the work she did for the civil rights movement. He had also written many novels including Till the Eagle Screams and Randy, Toddler. His writings, although innumerable, remain mostly unpublished.
Paul continued to write plays, musicals, dramas and novels through his entire life and was inspired by personal experiences, current political events and many worldly injustices. Many times he was heard saying, “I’m giving up writing” but within a day or two, he would be back at the keyboard crafting another story to express his thoughts, feelings and aspirations.
Another devoted passion was his love and affection for dogs. He was a benefactor for many animal shelters as well as volunteering his time to find permanent homes for lost and unwanted dogs. Throughout his entire life, he rescued many dogs with a few that were dearest to his heart including Harpo, TJ, Thor, Kenneth, Jack, Rusty, Rascal and Baby.
Paul passed away on December 23, 2019 at the East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon, NY. Because he had many fond and loving memories of his time spent in Biloxi, MS and Fairhope, AL, his remains are with his mother and Aunt Ollie at the Old Biloxi Cemetery. He leaves behind many friends and relatives who will miss him terribly.
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