Richard Hough, 77, a highly popular British naval historian and biographer who wrote more than 90 books, died Oct. 8 in London. He had a heart ailment.
His books included "Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian," which was published in 1972 and was the basis for the 1984 film, "The Bounty," which starred Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.
Another was the 1980 biography, "Mountbatten: Hero of Our Time," a controversial bestseller based on conversations the author had with the British earl and admiral of the fleet. Although Mountbatten had understood Mr. Hough would eventually write a biography, he never indicated that the work was "official." Mountbatten heirs were critical of the work.
In its obituary of Mr. Hough, The Telegraph newspaper of London said the Mountbatten book "painted a credible and well-balanced picture of its subject, conveying the dash and courage of the man without being blind to his vanity and foibles."
Mr. Hough's other works included a 1958 history of the Battle of Tsushima, "The Fleet That Had to Die," and such later works as "The Potemkin Mutiny," "The Pursuit of Admiral von Spee," "The Murder of Captain James Cook" and the 1969 biography of Lord "Jackie" Fisher, "First Sea Lord."
He also wrote children's books under the pen name Bruce Carter and contributed to such magazines as the New Yorker, Encounter and History Today. He wrote book reviews for The Telegraph and served for a time as "motor racing" correspondent of the Manchester Guardian. He also was the author of a volume of war memoirs, "One Boy's War," which was published in 1975.
Mr. Hough, a native of England, was turned down at the outbreak of World War II by the Royal Navy because of color blindness. He promptly enlisted in the Royal Air Force and was sent to Los Angeles for pilot's training.
With the United States not yet in the war, the men of the Royal Air Force, fighting the "Battle of Britain," were socially popular in Los Angeles. As luck would have it, Mr. Hough's instructor turned out to be the brother of actress Mary Pickford. Mr. Hough found himself spending weekends at various Hollywood homes with the likes of Brian Aherne, Joan Fontaine, Ronald Colman, C. Aubrey Smith and Charles Boyer. He had his fortune told by Myrna Loy and danced with Ginger Rogers.
But Mr. Hough soon found himself in aerial combat. He flew fighters, first Hurricanes and then the new Typhoon. He shot down several German aircraft, including two fighter-bombers on his 21st birthday, before serving as a ground controller during the D-Day invasion of France. He later returned to the cockpit, leading attacks on German "flying bomb" bases.
After the war, he turned to publishing for a career. From 1955 to 1970, he worked for Hamish Hamilton, becoming managing director of its children's books operations. He left the company to devote full time to writing.
He met Mountbatten when the British hero offered the historian a lift to Pitcarin Island. Travel to the island was immensely difficult, but the royal yacht, Britannia, with Mountbatten aboard, was headed there.
On the trip, Mr. Hough and Mountbatten struck up a friendship that would result in Mr. Hough's writing the authorized biography of Mountbatten's parents, "Louis and Victoria: the First Mountbattens," which appeared in 1974. In 1983, four years after Mountbatten's death, Mr. Hough published "Edwina: Countess Mountbatten of Burma."
In 1986, Mr. Hough published "Ace of Clubs," a history of the Garrick Club, of which he was a member. In 1996, his joint biography of Queen Victoria and her Prince Consort, "Victoria and Albert" appeared. His last book, "Naval Battles of the 20th Century," is scheduled to be published in November.