John D. MacDonald (July 24, 1916 - December 28, 1986), writing as John D. MacDonald, was an American writer best known for his series of detective novels featuring protagonist Travis McGee. MacDonald was named a grand master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1972 and won the American Book Award in 1980. Stephen King, who praised him as "the great entertainer of our age, and a mesmerizing storyteller," dedicated The Sun Dog (a novella in his Four Past Midnight collection) to MacDonald's memory; MacDonald had previously provided the foreword to King's Night Shift.
Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, MacDonald enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance but dropped out during his sophomore year to work menial jobs in New York City. While attending the Syracuse University School of Business, he met Dorothy Prentiss. They married in 1937, and he graduated from Syracuse the following year. In 1939, he received an MBA from Harvard University.