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Stephen King is a New York Times-bestselling novelist who made his name in the horror and fantasy genres. Much of his work has been adapted into films.
Stephen King - Pet Cemetery (0:58)
Watch a short video about Stephen King and learn which classic novel earned him the title of the most successful writer of our time.
While vacationing in snowbound Colorado, King and his wife stayed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, and found inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel and the trapped family in "The Shining."
At his new home in Maine, Stephen King discovered that living close to the road can be dangerous for family pets. The discovery was the basis for the novel "Pet Semetery."
While attending college in Maine, Stephen King protested the war in Vietnam and had his first work published in a mystery magazine.
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Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. He graduated from the University of Maine and worked odd jobs while establishing himself as a writer. His first horror novel Carrie, was a huge success. He published his earlier work under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Over the years, King became known for his frightening and critically-acclaimed titles. His books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide and have been adapted into numerous successful films.
"[French is] the language that turns dirt into romance."
"We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones."
"As a writer, I've always been confrontational. I've never been cool, I've never been calculating."
"There are plenty of people who have got lots of talent. This world is lousy with talent. The idea is to work that talent and try to get to be the best person that you can, given the limits of the talent that God gave you — or fate, or genetics or whatever name you want to put on it."
Author Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. King is recognized as one of the most famous and successful horror writers of all time. His parents, Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King, split up when he was very young, and he and his brother David divided their time between Indiana and Connecticut for several years. King later moved back to Maine with his mother and brother. There he graduated from Lisbon Falls High School in 1966.
King stayed close to home for college, attending the University of Maine at Orono. There he wrote for the school's newspaper and served in its student government. King published his first short story while in college, which appeared in Startling Mystery Stories. After graduating with a degree in English in 1970, he tried to find a position as a teacher, but he had no luck at first. King took a job in a laundry and continued to write stories in his spare time until late 1971, when he began working as an English teacher at Hampden Academy.
In 1973, King sold his first novel, Carrie, the tale of a tormented teen who gets her revenge. The book became a huge success after it was published the following year, allowing him to devote himself to writing full time. It later adapted for the big screen with Sissy Spacek as the character. More popular novels soon followed, including Salem's Lot (1975), The Shining (1976), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981) and IT (1986).
While making novels about sewer-dwelling monsters and vicious, rabid dogs—as seen in IT and Cujo, respectively—King published several books as Richard Bachman. The four early novels—Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981) and The Running Man (1982)—were published under another name because of King's concern that the public wouldn't accept more than one book from an author within a year. He came up with the alias after seeing a novel by Richard Stark on his desk—which it turned out was a pseudonym used by Donald Westlake—and coupling it with what he heard playing on his record player at the time, which was "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," by Bachman Turner Overdrive.
Although many of King's works were adapted into film or television—Firestarter became a film in 1984, starring Drew Barrymore; Cujo became a film in 1983; and It became a miniseries in 1990, starring Tim Curry—The Shining, which was released on film in 1980 starred Jack Nicholson, became a classic horror thriller.
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Meet legendary writers of the horror genre whose vivid descriptions have have kept us on the edge of our seats, chapter after chapter. Some of their most gruesome creations and plot devices, from blood-sucking creatures of the night to the demons trapped within our own minds, continue to live on in the imaginations of readers. Explore Biography.com's list of "fright writers," including "Master of Suspense" Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Washington Irving and many more.
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