Did Robert B. Parker Invent a Character in a Novel Series for Helen Hunt?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about novels and novelists and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the novel urban legends featured so far.

NOVEL URBAN LEGEND: Robert B. Parker created a popular series of novels just so an actress could have a good role – a role she never ended up playing.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) began writing novels in 1971.

His most famous series of novels starred the Boston private eye known as Spenser.

Spenser was so popular that he received his own TV series called Spenser for Hire, starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (whose character, Hawk, had a spin-off series after Spenser for Hire).

The show lasted three seasons from 1985-1988, and also had a series of TV movies in the 1990s.

One of Parker’s most recent lead characters was the female detective Sunny Randall, also a Boston P.I.

The character appeared in seven novels since her debut in 1999’s Family Honor (most recently, 2007’s Spare Change).

Randall had an odd genesis, though.

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