He was born in Brooklyn, New York City and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His father worked as a bar tender, John Joseph Spillane (Irish) and his mother was Catherine Anne (Scottish). He was the only child of his parents. He graduated in 1935 from Erasmus Hall High School. He started writing while he was in high school. He then shortly attended Fort Hayes State College in Kansas and worked in many different jobs for example as a life guard at breezy point in summer and for some period as trampoline artist for the Ringling Bros.
Mickey during World War II enlisted in the army air corps as a fighter pilot and a flight instructor. He used his celebrity status for publishing The Grand Strand on TV but when it become a popular resort area and traffic become a problem He said, “I shouldn’t have told people about it”. He was an active Jehovah’s Witness. Mickey and Marry Ann Spillane, first wife had four children and their marriage ended in 1962. Later he married his second wife a nightclub singer Sherri Malinou in November 1965. His third marriage was with Jane Rogers Johnson.
Spillane became a friend of Ayn Rand (A Novelist) In 1960 Spillane became “fan” of Rand (as he described) and Rand also admired the literary skills of Spillane. His house was ravaged in the 1989 Hurricane Hugo and it had to completely rebuild from scratch.
He is also known as the King of Pulp Novelists. His inspiration to write on tough characters came from his experience in his childhood or the place where he grew up and lived most of his early years. He described it to be very tough neighborhood.