James Fogle, ‘Drugstore Cowboy’ Author, Dies At 75 In Prison

James Fogle, the author behind the autobiographical crime novel Drugstore Cowboy, died Thursday at age 75.

A state corrections spokeswoman confirmed Fogle’s death, saying that he died in the Washington State Reformatory’s infirmary ward, where he had been serving a 15-year sentence for holding up a pharmacy in a Seattle suburb in 2010.

After Fogle’s passing, the Medical Examiner’s Officer completed an investigation and determined that he had died from probable malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the cells that exist in the membrane covering our body organs .

The cause has been determined to be natural.

The Seattle Times reports that by the time he penned “Drugstore Cowboy,” which shares Fogle’s experiences in a group of addicts who roamed the Pacific Northwest robbing pharmacies and hospitals to feed their drug habits, James had already spent half his life in prison.

James was still behind bars when Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant approached him and asked for permission to turn his tale into a Hollywood movie. What resulted was the 1989 film “Drugstore Cowboy,” which starred Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch and Heather Graham. The film was very well received critically, and won several awards.


NWCN reports that in Fogle’s later years, the convicted felon sounded remorseful about his life of crime.

“I think it started out as an addiction to wanting to be a criminal,” he said in 2011. “There’s a lot of things I probably should have done different.”

NWCN has more on on James Fogle, the real Drugstore Cowboy, in the video below: