Lesson #15: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe (1593)
The Official Story
It strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. - "As You Like
It" Act III, scene 2
[The above quotation is thought by some scholars to be a mysterious reference by
Shakespeare to Christopher Marlowe's murder.]
May 31, 1593. A widow's house in Deptford, three miles from London. She rents rooms
for meetings, and provides food and drink to those who wish to spend the day in contemplation.
It is just after six in the evening, the sun not yet set, the room suffused in a
pale, golden light. Supper is over. In a matter of minutes, Christopher Marlowe will
Three of the men are seated on a bench, "cheek by jowl," as one of them is to report
later, in front of a trestle table. They are playing an Elizabethan version of backgammon.
The only other furniture in the beamed, dark, low-ceiling room is a bed, upon which
the fourth man, recovering from too much wine, is reclining. One of the men at the
table, the one sitting in the middle of the three, says, over his shoulder, that
the bill for their day's food and drink must be paid to their hostess.
The young, drunken man on the bed protests. His share of the reckoning is too large,
he says. The man at the table replies that the share is only right. The young man
lurches to his feet and grabs the dagger from the seated man's belt—kept in his belt
at the small of his back, "Spanish style"—and strikes him on his head, a superficial
gash that bleeds profusely. He strikes him again, opening a second wound. The man
struggles to his feet, grabs the wrist of the young man, and forces the dagger into
the eye of his assailant. He falls to the floor, instantly dead. The man at the table
had no choice. He had to defend himself.
This is the account of the three men, given to the coroner the next day, June 1,
1593, as the coroner and his jury of 16 men view the room and the body. It is a case
of self-defense. The next day, June 2, in the churchyard of St. Mary's, Deptford,
the dead man is buried. The grave is unmarked.
Death was a common event in Elizabethan London. Plague, violence, execution—each
day brought the end of life to more than a few 16th century Londoners, with little
regard to rank or station. Death hovered above the city day after day. Why should
the death of this one man concern us?
Two weeks later, the man who thrust the fatal blow is pardoned by Queen Elizabeth
Who is he, the man who is dead on the floor of a chamber in a widow's house? And
how did he really die?
He must have been important.
Who Was Christopher Marlowe?
The record of the coroner's inquest states that the victim was one Christopher Marlowe,
poet and playwright. He was so identified when all were crowded into the small room
to view the body, still lying on the floor.
Christopher Marlowe, if he is known at all, is vaguely remembered as a playwright
who wrote the immortal lines about Helen of Troy: "Was this the face that launched
a thousand ships, and burnt the topless towers of Ilium ?"
These lines from Dr. Faustus are repeated by actors auditioning for roles in the
film "Shakespeare in Love," and serve as a cliche or the soaring poetry of Elizabethan
drama. Yet, Marlowe was more than a single immortal line of blank verse. He was the
most popular and successful playwright before and during Shakespeare's early years,
having written five tremendously successful plays. It has been suggested that he
collaborated with Shakespeare on the latter's three parts of Henry VI.
Like most of the playwrights of the era (except Shakespeare), Marlowe was a university
graduate, having left Cambridge in 1585, about the time of his first success, Tamburlaine.
He had left Cambridge under a cloud, and was denied his Master's degree until a letter
from the Privy Council charged the university with granting it. "He has of late done
the Queen great service." Cambridge relented, and he became Christopher Marlow, M.A.
He had been born in Canterbury in 1564, the son of a shoemaker, two months before
Shakespeare had been born in Stratford. Besides his fame as a poet, as well as a
playwright, he was, in all probability, a spy.
What was he like? Harold Bloom proposes that Marlowe was very much like his character
Barabbas in The Jew of Malta. Bloom writes: "What the common reader finds in Marlowe
is precisely what his contemporaries found: impiety, audacity, worship of power,
ambiguous sexuality, occult aspirations, defiance of moral order, and above all else
a sheer exaltation of the possibilities of rhetoric, of the persuasive force of heroic
poetry." In his opening soliloquy, Barabbas presents his devilish, heretical, and
sardonic face to the audience:
"As for myself, I walk abroad a-nights, And kill sick people groaning under walls. Sometimes
I go about and poison wells"
Several accounts of fights that Marlowe had suggest that he had a violent temper.
Other references to him propose that he was "sweet Kit Marlowe," an affable companion.
The portrait in Corpus Christi College in Cambridge that has been purported to be
the likeness of Marlowe shows a young dandy with a sardonic smile. Only one signature
(as a witness to a will) exists. In contrast, the mysterious William Shakespeare
is represented by two (perhaps three) portraits and a number of signatures. While
we have a reasonably detailed paper trail of Marlowe's life, not much more is known
about him than we know about Shakespeare. Calvin Hoffman has argued that, indeed,
Marlowe was Shakespeare.
A great deal of evidence exists, however, that Marlowe was a spy. Under the power
of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I had the first of the British Secret Services,
and university graduates were recruited for intelligence work. The enemy, of course,
was primarily Spain, but, broadly speaking, it was an intelligence war against Catholics.
Sir Francis's spy group engaged not only in intelligence gathering, but in elaborate
schemes of entrapment. It was a very nasty enterprise.
A curious adventure of Marlowe's was his involvement in "coining," that is, the counterfeiting
of gold coins. This charge was apparently dropped, for reasons that are never made
clear in the historical record. One author (Nicholl) suggests that this counterfeiting
enterprise was a plot to disrupt the activities of English Roman Catholics living
in France, supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots, imprisoned by Elizabeth I. It is very
bizarre, but not beyond the devious imagination of Francis Walsingham.
One of Cambridge's objections to granting Marlowe a degree was his frequent absences
with trips to the Continent. Were these espionage assignments in which he provided
"good service to the Queen?"
The Three Men in the Room
More is known about the three other men in the room, Ingram Frizer, Robert Poley
and Nicholas Skeres, than about Christopher Marlowe. Frizer, the man who killed Marlowe,
was a servant of Sir Thomas Walsingham, a relative of Francis, the Spymaster. In
this case, "servant" refers to a general handyman, a combination of secretary, administrative
assistant, and gofer. Thomas Walsingham was not only Frizer's employer, but, as was
often the case in Elizabethan times, a patron of Christopher Marlowe. To add to his
mysterious resume, Frizer appears to have been an adept confidence man, specializing
in schemes to lend money and extract more than he leant.
Robert Poley and Nicholas Skeres were, to one degree or another, spies in the employ
of Francis Walsingham. Poley was deeply involved in "The Babbington Plot," a scheme
by Roman Catholic dissidents to assassinate Elizabeth I and to replace her with the
imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots. Evidence supports the idea that Poley infiltrated
the plotters, encouraged their traitorous plans, and provided information to Francis
Walsingham, allowing the plot to be both created and thwarted.
In order to maintain Poley's cover as a spy, Poley was comfortably imprisoned in
the Tower of London for two years—lenient, by Elizabethan standards. Skeres was also
involved in the undoing of Babbington and his co-conspirators, and engaged in other
assignments for Francis Walsingham.
Hence, all three were connected to the shadowy world of 16th century espionage and
intrigue. And so was Marlowe.
Was Marlowe Really Murdered?
For the past 50 years or so, a theory has been put forth that Christopher Marlowe
was not murdered at all. The proposition is that his killing was faked, and that
Marlowe escaped from inevitable prosecution as a heretic by fleeing abroad. The main
proponent of this theory, Calvin Hoffman, maintained in numerous writings that Christopher
Marlowe was the author of the plays of Shakespeare. The outlines of his theory go
something like this:
With the connivance of Thomas Walsingham, and through the services of his men Frizer,
Skeres and Poley, a recently executed man was substituted for the body of Marlowe.
Marlowe then fled to Italy, where he wrote Shakespeare's greatest plays (many of
them set in Italy), sent them back to Walsingham, and Walsingham had William Shakespeare,
an actor, serve as a front man for the authorship of the plays. Of course, Walsingham
would have had Marlowe's manuscripts recopied.
Hoffman relied heavily on what he termed "parallelisms," phrases and lines from Marlowe's
acknowledged works that are very similar to lines from the plays of Shakespeare.
Further, he raised the cherished argument that no one of Shakespeare's limited education
could have written the erudite and complicated plays attributed to Shakespeare.
Hoffman was dogged in his pursuit of evidence to support his theory. He managed to
open Thomas Walsingham's tomb, searching for the play manuscripts he believed were
buried with Marlowe's patron. None were found. Hoffman's explanation for this failure
was that such an attempt was a long shot anyway. He went to Italy to search for evidence
that Marlowe had lived there after 1593, and, despite a disputed letter referring
to an English playwright living in Florence, he was unable to establish Marlowe's
existence after 1593.
Hoffman's work is strongly supported by members of the International Marlowe Society,
whose members are called "Marlovians." However, one of the arguments against the
principal Hoffman theory is that "parallelisms" are not uncommon in Elizabethan literature—apparently,
"borrowing" ideas, phrases and actual lines of dialogue was not rare—and that such
similarities in turn of phrase are to be expected. Further, collaboration in the
writing of plays of that era was common, and the "borrowing" could have come from
a variety of individuals who probably worked with Shakespeare. Indeed, the few flashes
of humor in Marlowe's plays were probably not written by him at all, but by resident
playwrights hired by the theater managers to "juice up" Marlowe's scripts. Evidence
of this comes from entries in the diary of Phillip Henslowe, theater manager for
the company for which Marlowe wrote, wherein he records payments for additions to
If Marlowe had been spirited away into exile, it was cleverly done. There are a number
of references to Marlowe's death in various documents of the time, and friends and
associates seemed to have no doubts that Marlowe had been killed at Deptford.
Much has been made of the coroner's report (not discovered until 1925, by the historian
Leslie Hotson). The disputed information is the nature of Marlowe's supposedly fatal
wound. Dr. Frederic Schreiber, a leading neurosurgeon, has maintained that the wound
described could not have been fatal, and that Marlowe could have survived such a
blow. The Marlovians are somewhat confused about this, and offer conflicting scenarios.
It is difficult to see how they can claim that the murder was staged, and at the
same time offering the idea that there was indeed a stabbing, but that the wound
was not lethal.
The most convincing argument, however, is the difference in quality between Marlowe's
plays and those attributed to Shakespeare. If one rereads Marlowe's plays, one is
struck by the absence of plot, the two-dimensionality of the characters, and the
almost simplistic moral presentation of the plays. With the exception of some moments
of soaring poetry, and, in Edward II, a few scenes of dramatic power, Marlowe's plays
are not comparable in quality to even the earliest and least popular of Shakespeare's
In brief, if the non-murder of Marlowe is dependent on his assuming the authorship
of Shakespeare's plays, the case is indeed weak. In all likelihood, the man murdered
in Deptford in 1593 was Christopher Marlowe. The question is "Why?"
Why Was He Murdered? Theory One
If Marlowe did not die from an argument over a bill (a "reckoning," as the Elizabethans
called it), what was the motive for his murder? There are several possibilities,
some more probable than others.
The first of these possible theories for "getting rid" of Marlowe was bandied about
the small literary community of 1590s London. The several variations of this theory
revolve around Marlowe's possible love life. One contemporary account reports that
Marlowe was murdered by a jealous husband in a street brawl. Another suggests that
the brawl was with a jealous competitor of Marlowe, both of whom sought the favors
of a compliant and not too respectable mistress. A third, it has been suggested,
proposes that Marlowe was a homosexual—he was quoted as stating that those who love
neither tobacco nor boys are missing something—and that his murder somehow was involved
with his aberrant sexual tastes. The implication is that he was involved with a rough
crowd, or that he made the fatal mistake of approaching an unwilling young man who
was not so inclined. Many of the interesting novels about Marlowe, particularly one
written by the distinguished writer, Anthony Burgess, have scenes with Marlowe in
energetic love trysts with boys and men. Marlovians defend their hero by arguing
that sexuality in Elizabethan times was far more ambiguous than in the present day,
and that sex between men was common. After all, did not Shakespeare suggest homosexual
love for a youth in his sonnets? (It should be noted that in his sonnets, Shakespeare
also expressed a passion for "a dark lady.")
All of these speculations fall into the category of gossip, and seem unlikely.
Why Was He Murdered? Theory Two
A second scenario proposes that Marlowe was done in because of his heresy. Shortly
after Marlowe's death, a document, written a short time before by Richard Baines,
surfaced. In it, Baines claimed that Marlowe had uttered various blasphemies, the
most serious of which denied the divinity of Christ. Ten days before Marlowe's appearance
before authorities, Marlowe's fellow playwright, Thomas Kyd, was arrested and tortured
until he confessed that heretical documents found in his chamber were written by
Marlowe when the two had shared quarters in 1591. It is believed that Marlowe's summons
before the Privy Council a few weeks before he was murdered was based on these accusations,
as well as other unspecified evidence that Marlowe was a heretic. Heresy in Elizabethan
times was a capital offense, carried out in a most horrendous manner—hanging, disemboweling
while still alive, drawing and quartering. Yet, Marlowe was released by the council,
with the mild admonishment that he must remain in the area and report daily to officers
of the council. This was a curious procedure, considering the severity of such an
accusation. As a matter of record, Marlowe was summoned by the Privy Council for
this interview while he was visiting his patron, Thomas Walsingham, so it is unlikely
that Walsingham was unaware of Marlowe's predicament. A possibility exists that the
true reason for his requested appearance had more to do with his association with
others whom the council wished to discredit than with any intemperate beliefs on
An interesting corollary to this theory and the preceding one is that Baines reports
that Marlowe spoke boldly of Jesus and his disciples as a licentious homosexual group,
with blasphemies about Jesus' relationship to Peter. In effect, the Baines letter
does triple duty in accusing Marlowe: heretic, blasphemer and sodomite.
Why Was He Murdered? Theory Three
Which brings us to a third explanation. Marlowe was a known member of a heretical
group led by the famous Sir Walter Raleigh, an important Elizabethan figure who was
alternately in and out of favor with the queen. The Raleigh group was opposed by
a rival group that also sought the favor of Elizabeth I, led by the Earl of Essex.
In one way or another, Marlowe, in his role as a spy, or possibly because of his
dangerous atheistic talk, had to be silenced. The question remains whether Raleigh
needed Marlowe out of the way, or Essex needed, for some reason, to silence Marlowe.
Key to this question is the relationship of Thomas Walsingham to these two rival
Walsingham, no longer under the protection of his recently deceased relative, Sir
Francis Walsingham, was involved in the "study group" led by Raleigh, and, as such,
could be painted with the same brush of heresy. It wasn't simply the heretical views
of the Raleigh faction, but the fact that such heresy was also a threat to the authority
of the queen. It was a fatal combination of disbelief and treason. The new spymaster,
Sir Robert Cecil, was as dogged as his predecessor, and would have little regard
for Thomas Walsingham's position.
It is curious that all three of the men present with Marlowe at Deptford were nefarious
characters. All three, along with Marlowe, had been spies (and, in the case of Poley,
would continue as an active agent). It is even more remarkable to accept the strange
fact that Poley and Skeres stood by while the struggle between Frizer and Marlowe
was going on. One might assume that Frizer "drew the short straw" and was the designated
assassin, while his two colleagues were available should Frizer encounter some difficulty
with their intended victim.
Evidence Marlowe was Silenced
The facts of the case, at best, lead one to select the most plausible resolution
to the question of the murder of Christopher Marlowe. This, I believe, is that Marlowe
had to be silenced in order to save the skin of his patron, Thomas Walsingham. However
reluctantly he felt about disposing of the poet that had been under the protection
of his patronage, the political baggage that Marlowe carried was not to be endured.
Hence, Marlowe had to go. For this purpose, Walsingham had Marlowe lured to a meeting
with three of his loyal servants, and there, in Deptford, silenced him once and for
all. The fact that Frizer was quickly pardoned suggests that Walsingham persuaded
the queen of his loyalty, and either urged upon her the necessity of getting rid
of Marlowe, or convinced her that the coroner's jury was correct, and that Marlowe's
death was the result of self defense.
It is entirely possible that Robert Cecil was concerned about Marlowe, and was involved
in the attempt to silence him. If the Privy Council decided to further question Marlowe,
and subject him to the same instruments of interrogation that they had used so effectively
on Thomas Kyd, was it not likely that Marlowe would reveal the machinations of Cecil's
secret service? Could the wily Cecil afford to have his various plots known?
Another interested party in the effort to silence Marlowe was the Earl of Essex.
In his battle of wits with Raleigh, Essex needed to establish his credibility with
the queen, while the two factions jockeyed for advantageous positions in the question
of Elizabeth's successor. Further, Nicholas Skeres, a member of that strange quartet
at Deptford, was a faithful servant of Essex. Was it he who arranged the meeting?
Nicholl suggests that the murder was unplanned, that the goal of the meeting was
to seek the volatile Marlowe's silence by persuasion, and that things got out of
hand. Either a genuine disagreement and fight began, or Skeres saw no alternative
but the ultimate silencing of Marlowe.
The murder of Christopher Marlowe remains a mystery, but it seems unlikely that the
great dramatist's death was the result of an argument over a few shillings. Considering
the magnitude of late 16th century intrigue, Marlowe was most likely a victim in
the struggle for political survival of Thomas Walsingham, Walter Raleigh, and the
Earl of Essex. It is interesting to note that eventually Essex (by order of Elizabeth)
and Raleigh (by order of her successor, James I) were beheaded. Clearly, it was an
era where the principal players played for keeps.
On July 11, 2002, a memorial window in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, was dedicated
to Christopher Marlowe. It gives the date of his birth as 1564, and the date of his
death as "?1593." Even his memorial refuses to acknowledge the fact of his death.
A few yards away from the Marlowe Memorial window sits the bust of William Shakespeare.
The World of Christopher Marlowe
Writing a biography of Christopher Marlowe—or William Shakespeare—is like reconstructing
a dinosaur skeleton from a single tooth. There is an isolated fact or two, and not
Still, the work must be done. A paleontologist will argue that there is much more
to the matter than the single tooth. There are footprints, allowing for an estimation
of the animal's weight. There are the fossils of plants and other animals, indicating
what the creature might have eaten. There are myriad incidental clues surrounding
the location and position of the tooth.
So it is with Christopher Marlowe. A new biography by David Riggs, The World of Christopher
Marlowe, reconstructs the world around Christopher Marlowe, so that what little is
known about the man can have a context, as well as a number of reasonable surmises.
The detritus surrounding Marlowe can tell us a great deal about this elusive man.
That is precisely what the author does.
There are works of literary criticism that are better for analyzing Marlowe's plays,
and Charles Nicholl's book, The Reckoning, is a thorough analysis of Marlowe's career
as a spy and the causes of his death at the age of 29 in 1593. However, none of the
books about Marlowe explain as much about the man as Riggs'.
Riggs has provided an exhaustive study of middle-Elizabethan culture that gives us
insight into what Marlowe might have been like, and why. How does one explain Marlowe's
purported atheism? Riggs not only explains it, but also develops arguments with a
staggering bundle of research that suggests his atheism was inevitable. What about
Marlowe's homosexuality? The culture of the time promoted such behavior among the
literati, and Marlowe certainly belonged to that group of Epicureans. What could
have been the effects of Marlowe's education at King's School in Canterbury and Jesus
College in Cambridge? Riggs demonstrates how the systems of education and the curricula
could shape Marlowe's behavior, as well as inform the content of his plays. He reports
an Elizabethan observer's comments about university education with humorously modern
"... the universities [were brought] into much slander. For standing on their reputation
and liberty, they ruffle and roist it out, exceeding in apparel and haunting riotous
company (which draweth them from their books into another trade.) And for excuse,
when they are charged with breach of all good order, think it sufficient to say that
they be gentlemen, which grieveth many not a little."
With this amount of research and explanation, Marlowe finally comes into clearer
Regrettably, a reader must be dedicated to plow through this impressive scholarship.
There are facts and explanations important to the understanding of Marlowe, which
are, at times overwhelming, detailed and arcane. Unless one is really into Elizabethan
history, politics, religion and culture, this is a very difficult book. Those willing
to put forth the effort will find the reward great.
One striking feature of this book is that it leads one back to the plays, which are,
after all, the basis for caring about Marlowe. Riggs' explanations seem to give life
to the plays in a way that makes them less bombastic, more subtle and less nasty.
That alone is an accomplishment.
For readers who are primarily interested in Marlowe as a victim of either a brawl
over a bill ("the reckoning," as Nicholl puts it) or a murder victim of a political
plot, Riggs doesn't add much to Nicholl's wonderful account. He does provide a bit
more context, and enlarges the political plots and counterplots of Elizabeth and
her ministers against Catholics, Mary Queen of Scots, and the other figures struggling
over the throne of England. Nevertheless, for the most part, the mystery of the death
of Christopher Marlowe is solved in much the same way as in The Reckoning—Marlowe
met his end at the hands of political low-life in the employ of Thomas Walsingham.
If one wishes to go to the next level of the mystery of Christopher Marlowe, and
wishes to become something of a scholar of his life and times, this book is ideal
for such goals. (The single tooth has produced a reasonably intact skeleton.) If
not, the Crime Library article will tell you all you want to know about this mystery.
As one would expect with such an important literary figure as Christopher Marlowe,
most of the literature about him concerns an evaluation of his work. There are a
number of biographies, but these concentrate on his literary output and contain very
little about his life and death. This is to be expected, since details about his
life are secondhand, with very few documents directly concerning him. Some of these
biographies extol Marlowe's supposed virtues, while others are less sympathetic.
As Bloom indicates, one can speculate on Marlowe's character by studying his plays.
This I have done. As mentioned above in the section "Was Marlowe Really Murdered?"
I found rereading his plays hard going. It is true that there are individual speeches
by some of Marlowe's characters that are thrilling, and poetry that are (as Ben Jonson
put it) "mighty lines," but the moral posturing of the characters, their two-dimensionality
and their lack of human qualities make the plays seem primitive, much like the naive
morality plays of a century before.
The Reckoning by Charles Nicholl
For the purpose of studying the circumstances surrounding his death, the primary
source is The Reckoning, by Charles Nicholl. This work goes into great detail about
the world of Elizabethan espionage, and is the most complete account of the three
who, along with Marlowe, were present in Deptford on that fateful day.
However, there are a number of books and articles about Marlowe as Shakespeare, and
these contain interesting details about events leading up to Deptford and the aftermath.
The vigorous defense of Marlowe as Shakespeare by Calvin Hoffman is the primary source,
but works by Charlton Ogburn (who promotes the Earl of Oxford as Shakespeare) contain
miscellaneous facts about Marlowe. Members of the Marlowe Society (the "Marlovians")
have been very industrious in ferreting out odd facts about Marlowe and his "possible"
A documentary was recently broadcast on the PBS program "Frontline," in which the
authorship of Shakespeare's plays was examined. A great deal of the program was devoted
to the supposedly faked death of Marlowe, and his subsequent career as the author
of Shakespeare's plays. Many of the leading Marlovians were interviewed.
A book by crime writer M.J. Trow is to be published in June, 2003, and is entitled
"Who Killed Kit Marlowe? A Contract to Murder in Elizabethan England."
At least two films about Marlowe are in production. The first is an adaptation of
Anthony Burgess's novel A Dead Man in Deptford. The second is a film starring Johnny
Depp as Marlowe and Jude Law as Shakespeare, but the producers have not indicated
the direction that this film is taking.
Finally, there have been a number of interesting novels that deal with Marlowe as
the principal protagonist, or in which he makes significant appearances. I have read
three of them, and they are cited below. From time to time, one reads about plays
that have been written about Christopher Marlowe, but none of these appear to have
had theatrical staying power.
Bloom, Harold, editor. 1986. Christopher Marlowe: Modern Critical Views. Chelsea
Burgess, Anthony. 1993. A Dead Man in Deptford. Allen & Unwin.
Cowell, Stephanie. 1994. Nicholas Cooke, A Novel. Ballantine Books.
Garrett, George. 1990. Entered From the Sun. Doubleday.
Hoffman, Calvin. 1960. The Murder of the Man who was Shakespeare. Grosset & Dunlap.
Ingram, John H. 1904 (1970 reprint). Christopher Marlowe and His Associates. Cooper
Nicholl, Charles. 1992. The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe. Harcourt
Ogburn, Charlton. 1984. The Mysterious William Shakespeare. Dodd, Mead.
Parks, Edd Winfield and Richmond Croom Beatty. 1935. The English Drama: An Anthology
900-1642. W.W. Norton.
Anderson, Kim berly. No date. Christopher Marlowe Secret Agent? Kimberly Anderson
Brandt, Bruce. 1995. Special Fiction Section: Six Faces of Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe
Society Book Reviews.
Gage, Carolyn. 1997. Meeting the Ghost of Hamlet's Father. On the Issues.
Aiuto is a retired educator. He was a college professor of biology, specializing
in genetics, a dean, a provost and a college president. He has a BA in theater from
University of Michigan, a BA in biology and English from Eastern Michigan University
and an MA and Ph.D. in genetics and botany from the University of North Carolina.
After his academic career at Albion College (MI) and Hiram College (OH) he was a
division director at the National Science Foundation, director of research and development
for the National Science Teachers Association, and senior project officer for the
Council of Independent Colleges.
As an author of non-fiction, he has published twelve research papers in genetics,
five science textbooks, a number of articles in science education, literature, and
criticism, and has been the editor of a major national science curriculum revision.
His fiction publications include two short stories, seven plays, and a novel. In
his spare time he enjoys cooking, travel and performing in local theater groups.
He is a contributor to Notable Twentieth Century Scientists and is listed in Who's
Who in America.