Don Pendleton was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on December 12, 1927. During World War II, on December 7, 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Radioman First Class until November of 1947. He served in all the war theaters, receiving various medals. He received his GED while in the Navy. In 1952, in the midst of the Korean conflict, he returned to active service for two years.
He was employed as a telegrapher for Southern Pacific Railroad until 1957. For the next four years, he worked for the CAA/FAA as an air traffic control specialist. In 1961, his career turned toward aerospace engineering where he served in management positions during Martin-Marietta's Titan ICBM programs, as an engineering administrator in NASA's Apollo Moonshot program, and with the United States Air Force C-5 Galaxy program.
He began writing in 1957 and his first short story was published that year, followed by a first novel in 1961. He became a full-time author in 1967. After producing a number of short stories, westerns, science fiction and mystery novels, in 1969, he launched the Executioner series. The first Executioner novel, War Against the Mafia, was followed by an additional 37 books during the ensuing 12 years.
In 1980, he franchised his Executioner characters to Harlequin's Worldwide Library of Toronto, Gold Eagle Imprint. Until his death, he served as Consulting Editor on the Gold Eagle Program, although was not directly responsible for any of the Mack Bolan novels written since 1981. Their team of writers have produced close to 400 novels based on Pendleton's original works and use his names as a house pseudonym.
He also published six books about a psychic detective named Ashton Ford and six books about a private detective named Joe Copp. In 1990, he turned to nonfiction with the publication of To Dance with Angels, written with his wife, Linda Pendleton. His nonfiction books include three manuscripts published posthumously as ebooks: A Sear