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Who is Stephen King?

Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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Stephen Edwin King was born on 21 September 1947 in Portland, Maine, a place that later became the setting for most of his novels. King spent his childhood moving around with his mother and adopted older brother, often suffering from severe financial strain. Stephen King started writing stories at an early age. At ten, he started writing science fiction stories based on popular movie characters and selling the stories to his classmates. Two years later, when his brother started his own "garage-paper" called Dave's Rag, King became a frequent contributor.

In 1971, Stephen King graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in English and became a high school teacher. In the same year, he married aspiring novelist Tabitha Spruce, with whom he shared a trailer outside the city. The Kings went through some rough times, barely making it unless the author was able to sell a short story to a magazine. In the space of a few years, King began several novels that he eventually abandoned, until his wife pushed him to finish Carrie and submit it to a New York publisher. The novel sold for only 2,500 US dollars (USD), but another big publisher bought the paperback rights soon after for 400,000 USD.

While publishing success stayed with Stephen King after that, his private life deteriorated. He became seriously addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and prescription drugs. In his memoir, On Writing, King admits that he barely remembers writing some of his early novels, because he was so intoxicated at the time. Almost ten years later, his family staged an intervention and forced him to seek help. King has been sober since the late 1980s.

Stephen King has become known as the master of horror. Many of his most famous books have been made into films, including Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Green Mile, and It. Aside from his many successful novels and collections of short stories, King has written books in collaboration with other authors, including the popular Black House with Peter Straub. In the early 1980s, he published four non-horror novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Fans eventually picked up on the similar literary styles and forced King to release a statement saying Bachman had died of "cancer of the pseudonym."

Stephen King is one of the few writers in the world to become a popular icon. He's instantly recognized and is frequently cited on television shows such as Family Guy, Futurama, The Simpsons, and Friends.

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Discussion Comments

By alex94 — On Nov 19, 2010

@cellmania: Stephen King is also in a band called “Rock Bottom Remainders”. Fellow writers Ridley Pearson, Matt Groening, and Dave Barry are also in the band.

By StormyKnight — On Nov 19, 2010

@cellmania: Stephen King had a near-death experience in 1999. He was hit by a Dodge van while walking near his house in Bangor, Maine and almost killed. He was thrown 14 feet off of the road. He suffered several injuries including a split knee, broken hip, four broken ribs, a chipped spine, and his leg was broken in nine places.

It was reported that King purchased the van that hit him with the plans of hammering it to pieces when the anniversary of the accident came around.

By CellMania — On Nov 19, 2010

I am a huge Stephen King fan. I had no idea that he struggled with addiction at one time. Are there any more interesting facts about him?

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