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Ray Bradbury

Ray BradburyAKA Ray Douglas Bradbury

Born: 22-Aug-1920
Birthplace: Waukegan, IL
Died: 5-Jun-2012
Location of death: Los Angeles, CA
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Fahrenheit 451

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury contributed such iconic classics of science fiction literature as Fahrenheit 451 (1953), The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), Dandelion Wine (1957), I Sing the Body Electric (1951), and Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962). His work has been adapted to film as well as to television, the latter in such venues as "Twilight Zone", "Night Gallery", and, of course, "The Ray Bradbury Theater."

Ray Douglas Bradbury was born on 22 August 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois. His family moved frequently as his father (a lineman) sought work during the Great Depression. They at last settled in Los Angeles, but images of the Midwest would haunt Bradbury's stories throughout his life. Ray Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938, and began selling newspapers on Los Angeles street corners. Bradbury, who'd written his first story on a sheet of butcher paper at age 11, published his first professional story, "Hollerbochen's Dilemma", in 1938 in Imagination!. By 1941 he was not only participating in the world of sci-fi fandom, but he had met a number of professional authors who helped him develop his style. By 1943, he had stopped selling newspapers and was writing full time. Two years after that his "Big Black and White Game" was selected as one of the Best American Short Stories.

In 1947 Bradbury married Marguerite McClure. Soon after he began his most productive period of work. And after publishing The Martian Chronicles, in 1950, he was able to redirect the sale of his short fiction to such slick periodicals as the Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, McCall's, and Collier's Weekly. The book itself continues to be highly regarded by critics, both for its literary style (poetic, symbolic, weaving nostalgic lyricism with the macabre) and for Bradbury's subtly persuasive handling of the underlying messages and themes. The Martian Chronicles, for example, has been called an allegory for man's moral blindness in the face of "manifest destiny". In fact the same kind of ideals and scars that developed in the conquering of the American West rear their heads in the colonizing of the Martian Landscape. At the same time 1950s America's xenophobia and fears of nuclear annihilation suffuse the tale, giving added nuance and a transcendent depth.

1953 saw the publication of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a work whose message would (in the 1990s) find renewed relevance with the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web -- as the mainstream culture's traditional expectations about the control and distribution of information clashed with the freer expectations of Internet culture. The story itself portrays a future in which all books are banned and in which firemen are responsible for book burnings. The title derives from the temperature at which paper burns, 451 degrees Fahrenheit. The novel was filmed by François Truffaut (1966), and BBC Radio 4 has aired at least two dramatizations as well. In 2004, Bradbury was outraged by Michael Moore's high-handed rip-off of Bradbury's title for Fahrenheit 9/11.

Until his death in 2012, Bradbury remained an active writer, working from the basement office of his home in Los Angeles, California. In 2001 he published From the Dust Returned, a Halloween tale of an enchanted house in Illinois and it's peculiar residents. The recognition and awards he accrued over the years include the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, Bradbury was nominated for an Academy Award (for the animated film Icarus Montgolfier Wright) and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree.

In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City. A crater on the moon bears the name Dandelion Wine in honor of his renowned short story collection. British pop singer Elton John based his song "Rocket Man" on the Bradbury story of the same name.

In a 2007 interview with Los Angeles Weekly, Bradbury said that scholars, literature teachers, and readers have long misunderstood his Fahrenheit 451. The novel was not intended, he said, as a warning about censorship, but more as "a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature".

Father: Leonard Bradbury
Mother: Esther
Wife: Marguerite Susan McClure ("Maggie", m. 27-Sep-1947, d. Nov-2003, four daughters)
Daughter: Susan
Daughter: Ramona
Daughter: Bettina
Daughter: Alexandra

    High School: Los Angeles High School, Los Angeles, CA (1938)

    Hollywood Walk of Fame 1-Apr-2002
    Hugo 2004 Best Novel (retro), for Fahrenheit 451
    National Medal of Arts 2004
    Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame 1999
    World Fantasy Award 1977 Lifetime Achievement
    Endorsement of Sunsweet pitted prunes
    Planetary Society Advisory Council
    Stroke 7-Nov-1999
    Swedish Ancestry Maternal
    Risk Factors: Aviophobia

    Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan (27-Nov-2011) · Himself
    How to Live Forever (Oct-2009) · Himself
    Universal Horror (8-Oct-1998) · Himself
    The Halloween Tree (1993) · Narrator [VOICE]
    Rich and Famous (23-Sep-1981)

Official Website:

Author of books:
The Martian Chronicles (1950, collection)
The Illustrated Man (1951, collection)
Fahrenheit 451 (1953, novel)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962, novel)
I Sing the Body Electric! (1969)
The Halloween Tree (1972)
Tomorrow Midnight (1966)
The Autumn People (1965)
They Have Not Seen the Stars: The Collected Poetry of Ray Bradbury (2001)

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