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Sterling E. Lanier

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Lanier, Sterling E.
Dec. 18, 1927 - June 27, 2007

Sterling E. Lanier, Sarasota, died June 27, 2007.
He was a writer, editor and sculptor, and was 79 years old. As an editor at Chilton Books in Philadelphia in 1965, he championed the publication of Frank Herbert's "Dune," which became one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time.
Lanier's own books included "The War for the Lot" (1969), "Hiero's Journey" (1974), "Menace Under Marswood" (1983 ), and a series of novels about the strange adventures of Brigadier Donald Fellowes He was also a sculptor of miniature creatures, both real and whimsical.
Mr. Lanier, who was born in New York City, had lived in Sarasota since 1987. He was an active participant in Save Our Bays. A graduate of Harvard University, he served in both the Army and the Marine Corps before beginning his editorial career.
He is survived by his wife, Ann Lanier of Sarasota; a son, Berwick B. Lanier of Atlanta; a daughter, Katherine L. Griffith of Monaco; and three grandchildren.
Memorial services for friends and family will be held in the spring of 2008.
His sculptures included his vision of the characters from "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R Tolkien. Mr. Lanier depended upon his own imagination for the characters, which were only slightly described in the trilogy published in 1953-1954. Mr. Tolkien accepted and admired a set of the sculptures but, through his advisers, he said that they could not be made commercially available.
When "The Lord of the Rings" became a movie in 2001, the on-screen characters amazingly resembled Mr. Lanier's sculptural portrayals. Mr. Tolkien had died in 1973, and so Mr. Lanier was seemingly free to market his creations. But he refrained, honoring what he believed to be Mr. Tolkien's wishes.
Mr. Lanier served as a research historian at Winterthur Museum from 1958 to 1960 and was an editor at John C. Winston Company, Chilton Books and McRae-Smith.
Toale Brothers Colonial Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Published in Herald Tribune on July 1, 2007
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