Edward Gorey biography
Born on February 22, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois, Edward Gorey attended Harvard University before moving to New York City, where he landed a job in the art department of book publisher Doubleday. As an illustrator, Gorey developed a quirky, unique and macabre style that was a large influence on the work of artists like Tim Burton. After publishing his first work, 1953's Unstrung Harp, he gained a local following, and his popularity continued to grow. Other independent works include The Doubtful Guest (1957), The Hapless Child (1961), The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963) and The Gilded Bat (1966). Gorey also illustrated numerous works by other writers, including literary greats H.G. Wells, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Virginia Woolf. In 1978, he won a Tony Award for costume design on the Broadway production of Dracula. His work began even more widely known in 1980 with the premiere of the PBS series Mystery!, the intro of which boasted his illustrations. Gorey died on April 15, 2000, in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
Born on February 22, 1925, in Chicago, Illinois, Edward St. John Gorey was a designer, writer and illustrator known for his hybrid artistic style, blending elements of goth and comedy. When Edward Gorey was 11 years old, his parents, Edward Lee Gorey, who worked as a journalist for a time, and Helen Dunham (Garvey) Gorey, divorced (but would reunite in marriage more than a decade later, when Edward was in his late 20s).
Following his graduation from Chicago's Francis W. Parker School in 1942, Gorey was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving during World War II from 1943 to the mid-1940s, after the war's end. Not long after returning from the war, he began attending Harvard University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in French literature in 1950.
In 1953, Gorey moved to New York City and found work as an illustrator for the book-publishing company Doubleday Anchor, where he would stay for the next eight years. Around the same time he started at Doubleday, Gorey, who had been experimenting for some time with writing in addition to illustrating, published first independent work, The Unstrung Harp (1953).
Following the publication of Unstrung Harp, Gorey began to gain a local following. His popularity continued to grow thereafter due to the release of additional works, including The Doubtful Guest (1957), his first children's book; The Hapless Child (1961); his 1963 abecedarian book The Gashlycrumb Tinies; The Gilded Bat (1966); and The Deranged Cousins: or, Whatever (1969), as well as his numerous and acclaimed collaborations. Gorey's book-illustration credits from this period include two books by famed author Edward Lear, including 1969's The Dong with a Luminous Nose, as well as the works of H.G. Wells, T.S. Eliot Samuel Beckett, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Edmund Wilson, Virginia Woolf and John Bellairs. By the early '60s, Gorey had developed a reputation for his distinct, dark but humorous, style.
His drawings, usually of ghoulish, beady-eyed characters, often depicted macabre situations or settings, but with comic undertones.
Gorey's success continued into the 1970s and '80s, when his focus shifted more heavily toward adult works. His releases during this time include the anthologies Amphigorey (1972) and Amphigorey Too (1975)—which inspired the 1978 musical stage adaptation, Gorey Stories—and 1983's Amphigorey Also. Additionally, Gorey won a Tony Award for costume design in 1978, for his work on the 1977 Broadway production of Dracula.
Gorey's work began even more widely known in 1980 following the premiere of the PBS series Mystery!, the intro of which boasted his illustrations.
Death and Legacy
Edward Gorey died on April 15, 2000, at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts. At the time of his death, Gorey had published more than 100 independent works and illustrated countless others.