Stephen King Biography

Stephen King Biography on Monsters and Critics

Summary

"Stephen Edwin King" (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of over 200 stories including over 50 bestselling horror and fantasy novels. King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

King evinces a thorough knowledge of the horror genre, as shown in his 1981 nonfiction book "Danse Macabre", which chronicles several decades of notable works in literature, cinema, television and radio. He has also written stories outside the horror genre, including the novella collection "Different Seasons", "The Green Mile", "The Eyes of the Dragon", "Hearts in Atlantis" and his self-described 'magnum opus,' "The Dark Tower" series. In the past, Stephen King has written under the pen names Richard Bachman and (once) John Swithen.

Biography

Early life

King was born in Portland, Maine. When King was two years old, his father, Donald Edwin King, deserted his family. His mother, Nellie Ruth (née Pillsbury), raised King and his adopted older brother David by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to Ruth's home town of Durham, Maine, but also spent brief periods in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut.

As a child, King apparently witnessed a gruesome accident - one of his friends was struck and killed by a train. Some commentators have suggested this event may have inspired King's dark, disturbing creations, but King himself dismisses the idea, noting that he has no memory of the event: his family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death.

King attended Durham Elementary School and Lisbon Falls High School. As a young boy, King was an avid reader of EC's horror comics including "Tales from the Crypt", which provided the genesis for his love of horror. His screenplay for "Creepshow" would later pay tribute to the comics. When in school, he wrote stories based on movies he had seen, copying them with a mimeo machine his brother used to publish a newspaper, "Dave's Rag", to which King contributed. King sold the stories to friends, but his teachers disapproved and forced him to return his profits.

His first published story was 'In a Half-World of Terror' (retitled from 'I Was a Teen-Age Grave-robber'), published in a horror fanzine issued by Mike Garrett of Birmingham, Alabama.

From 1966 to 1970, King studied English at the University of Maine at Orono, where he wrote a column entitled 'King's Garbage Truck' for the student newspaper, the "Maine Campus". He met Tabitha Spruce there; they married in January, 1971. The campus period in his life is readily evident in the second part of "Hearts in Atlantis", and the odd jobs he took on to pay for his studies, including one at an industrial laundry, would later inspire stories such as 'The Mangler' and the novel "Roadwork" (as Richard Bachman).

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and a certificate to teach high school, King taught English at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He and his family lived in a trailer, and he wrote short stories, most for men's magazines, to help make ends meet. As "Carrie"s introduction relates, if one of his kids got a cold, Tabitha would joke, 'Come on, Steve, think of a monster.' King also developed a drinking problem, which would stay with him for over a decade.

Becoming famous

King soon began a number of novels. One of his first ideas was of a young girl with psychic powers, but he grew discouraged and discarded it. His wife later rescued it from the trash and encouraged him to finish it. After completing the novel, he titled it "Carrie" and sent it to Doubleday. He received a $2,500 advance (not large for a novel, even at that time) but the paperback rights eventually earned $400,000, with half going to the publisher. Soon following its release, his mother died of uterine cancer. His Aunt Emrine read the novel to her before she died.

In "On Writing", King admits that at this time he was often drunk and was even intoxicated while delivering his mother's eulogy. He states he was the basis for "The Shining"s alcoholic father, though he would not admit it (even to himself) for several years.

Shortly after "The Tommyknockers" publication, King's family and friends finally intervened, dumping his trash-beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, dextromethorphan (cough medicine), and marijuana-on the rug in front of him to show the evidence of his addictions. As King related in his memoir, he sought help and quit all forms of drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s, and has remained sober since.

King will not sign photographs in person. He feels that is something that should be reserved for movie stars. However, some of his fans have received autographed photos simply by asking.

King spends winter seasons in a waterfront mansion located off the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. Their three children, Naomi Rachel, Joseph Hillstrom (who appeared in the film "Creepshow"), and Owen Phillip, are grown and live on their own.

Owen and Joseph are writers; Owen published his first collection of stories, "We're All in This Together: A Novella and Stories" in 2005. The first collection of stories by Joe Hill (Joseph's pen name), "20th Century Ghosts", was published in 2005 by PS Publishing in a very limited edition, winning the Crawford Award for best new fantasy writer, together with the Bram Stoker Award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Fiction Collection. Tom Pabst will adapt Hill's upcoming novel, "Heart-Shaped Box", for a 2007 Warner Bros release.

King's daughter Naomi spent the past two years as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Utica, New York, where she lived with her partner; she has since been reassigned.

Baseball

Stephen King is a fan of the Boston Red Sox and frequently attends home and away baseball games.

King helped coach his son Owen's Bangor West team to the Maine Little League Championship in 1989. He recounts this experience in the "New Yorker" essay 'Head Down', which also appears in the collection "Nightmares and Dreamscapes". King has called 'Head Down' his best piece of nonfiction writing.

In 1992 King and his wife Tabitha's donations allowed the opening of Mansfield Stadium, a Little League ballpark in Bangor, Maine.

In 1999, King wrote "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon", which featured former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon as the protagonist's imaginary companion. King recently co-wrote a book titled "Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season" with Stewart O'Nan, recounting the authors' roller coaster reaction to the Red Sox's 2004 season, a season culminating in the Sox winning the 2004 American League Championship Series and World Series.

In the 2005 film "Fever Pitch", about an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan, King tosses out the first pitch of the Sox's opening day game.

Philanthropy

Since becoming commercially successful, King and his wife have donated money to causes around their home state of Maine.

The Kings' early nineties donation to the University of Maine Swim Team saved the program from elimination from the school's athletics department. Donations to local YMCA and YWCA programs have allowed renovations and improvements that would otherwise have been impossible. Additionally, King annually sponsors a number of scholarships for high school and college students.

The Kings do not desire recognition for their bankrolling of Bangor-area facilities: they named the Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium for a prominent local little league coach's cerebral palsy victim son, while the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Park memorializes an accomplished area swimmer who died of cancer.

Car accident

In the summer of 1999, King had finished the memoir section of "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" but had abandoned the book for nearly eighteen months, unsure of how or whether to proceed. King says that it was the first book that he'd abandoned since writing "The Stand" decades earlier. He had just decided to continue the book and on June 17 wrote a list of questions fans frequently asked him about writing; on June 18, he wrote four pages of the writing section.

On June 19, at about 4:30 p.m., he was walking on the right shoulder of Route 5 in Center Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained Rottweiler named Bullet, moving in the back of his 1985 Dodge Caravan, struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.

Smith was leaning to the rear of his vehicle trying to restrain his dog and was not watching the road when he struck King. According to Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker, King was struck from behind and witnesses said the driver was not speeding or reckless. King's website, however, states this is incorrect and that King was walking facing traffic.

King was conscious enough to give the deputy phone numbers to contact his family but was in considerable pain. King mentioned in an interview that he told a paramedic he knew he was going into shock, as he had done research on the subject for his writing. The author was first transported to Northern Cumberland Hospital in Bridgton and then flown by helicopter to Central Maine Hospital in Lewiston. His injuries - a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of the right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip - kept him in Central Maine Medical Center until July 9, almost three weeks later.

Earlier that year, King had finished most of "From a Buick 8", a novel in which a character dies after getting struck by a car. Of the similarities, King says that he tries 'not to make too much of it.' King's work had certainly featured car accidents and their horrors before. His 1987 novel "Misery" also concerned a writer who experiences severe injuries in an auto accident, and auto wrecks figure prominently in "The Dead Zone" and "Thinner". In "Christine", a 1958 Plymouth Fury runs down its enemies. 1994's "Insomnia" has a main character struck dead by a car, and central to "Pet Sematary's" plot is the scene in which a tractor-trailer strikes and kills the protagonist's young son. Following his accident, King wrote "Dreamcatcher", in which a central character suffers injuries similar to King's own after being struck by a car.

After five operations in ten days and physical therapy, King resumed work on "On Writing" in July, though his hip was still shattered and he could only sit for about forty minutes before the pain became intolerable.

King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to avoid it appearing on eBay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard, though King mentioned during an interview with "Fresh Air"s Terry Gross that he wanted to destroy the vehicle with a sledgehammer. Smith, a disabled construction worker, died of an overdose of pain medication on September 21, 2000 (King's birthday) at the age of 43.

King incorporated his accident into the final novel of his "Dark Tower" series, in which the character Jake Chambers prevents a fictionalized version of King from being fatally injured by the van.

Two years later, King suffered a severe case of pneumonia as a direct result of the puncturing of his lung at the time of the accident. The lower portion of one lung became infected and had putrified. During this time Tabitha King was inspired to redesign his studio. Stephen visited the space while his books and belongings were packed away. What he saw was an image of what his studio would look like if he died, providing a seed for his novel Lisey's Story.

Recent years

In 2000, King published a serialised novel 'The Plant' over the internet, bypassing print publication. Sales were unsuccessful, and he abandoned the project. In 2002, King announced he would stop writing, apparently motivated in part by frustration with his injuries, which had made sitting uncomfortable and reduced his stamina.

Since 2003, King has provided his take on pop culture in a column appearing on the back page of "Entertainment Weekly", usually every third week. The column is called 'The Pop of King', a reference to 'The King of Pop', Michael Jackson.

In October 2005, King signed a deal with Marvel Comics, to publish a seven-issue, miniseries spinoff of ""The Dark Tower" series" called "The Gunslinger Born". The series, which focuses on a young Roland Deschain, is plotted by Robin Furth, dialogued by Peter David, and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Jae Lee. The first issue was published on February 7, 2007, and because of its connection with King, David, Lee, and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada appeared at a midnight signing at a Times Square, New York comic book store to promote it. The work had sold over 200,000 copies by March 2007.

In June 2006, King appeared on the first installment of "Amazon Fishbowl", a live web-program hosted by Bill Maher.

King, a long time supporter of small publishing, has recently allowed the publication of two past novels in limited edition form. "The Green Mile" and "Colorado Kid" will receive special treatment from two small publishing houses. Both books will be produced and be signed by both King and the artist contributing work to the book. Half of King's published work has been re-published in limited (signed) edition format.

On February 14, 2007, Joblo.com announced that plans were underway for "Lost" co-creator J. J. Abrams to do an adaptation of King's epic "Dark Tower" series.

In June 2007, King's novel "Blaze", which was written in the early 1970s, under his long-time pseudonym Richard Bachman, was published. He is also finishing the novel "Duma Key" and writing a play with John Mellencamp titled "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County".

On April 20, 2007, "Entertainment Weekly" asked King if he felt there was a correlation between Seung-Hui Cho's writing and the Virginia Tech massacre. King stated, 'Certainly in this sensitized day and age, my own college writing would have raised red flags, and I'm certain someone would have tabbed me as mentally ill because of them' and 'Cho doesn't strike me as in the least creative, however. Dude was crazy. Dude was, in the memorable phrasing of Nikki Giovanni, 'just mean.' Essentially there's no story here, except for a paranoid a**hole who went DEFCON-1.' King felt that Cho's work had issues because of its themes and the lack of writing ability and a meaningful story.

On August 15, 2007, King was mistaken for a vandal in an Alice Springs bookstore. King signed six books in total, after a customer thought she had caught a vandal scribbling in volumes in the fiction section and reported him to store manager Bev Ellis.

Richard Bachman

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, after becoming a popular horror writer, King published a handful of novels — "Rage" (1977), "The Long Walk" (1979), "Road Work" (1981), "The Running Man" (1982) and "Thinner" (1984) — under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The idea behind this was largely an experiment to measure for himself whether or not he could replicate his own success again, and allay at least part of the notion inside his own head that popularity might all be just an accident of fate. An alternate (or additional) explanation was because of publishing standards back then allowing only a single book a year.

But there's another part that suggests it's all a lottery, a real-life game-show not much different from "Wheel of Fortune" or "The New Price Is Right" (two of the Bachman books, incidentally, are about game-show-type competitions). It is for some reason depressing to think it was all - or even mostly - an accident. So maybe you try to find out if you could do it again.

The Bachman novels contained hints to the author's actual identity that were picked up on by fans, leading to King's admission of authorship in 1985. King dedicated his 1989 book "The Dark Half" about a pseudonym turning on a writer to 'the deceased Richard Bachman', and in 1996, when the Stephen King novel "Desperation" was released, the companion novel "The Regulators" carried the Bachman byline.

In 2006, during a London UK press conference, King declared that he had discovered another Bachman novel, titled "Blaze". It was published on June 12 2007 in the UK and US. In fact, the manuscript had been held at King's alma mater, the University of Maine in Orono for many years and had been covered by numerous King experts. King completely rewrote the 1973 manuscript for its publication.

Writing style

In his nonfiction book, "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft", King discusses his writing style at great length. King believes that, generally speaking, good stories cannot be called consciously and should not be plotted out beforehand, they are better served by focusing on a single 'seed' of a story and letting the story grow itself. King often begins a story with no idea how it will end. He mentions in the "Dark Tower" series that halfway through its nearly 30-year writing period a terminally-ill woman asked how it would end, certain she would die before the series's completion. He told her he did not know. King believes strongly in this style, stating that his best writing comes from 'freewriting.' In "On Writing", King stated that he believed stories to exist fully formed, like fossils, and that his role as a writer was to excavate the fossil as well as he could. When asked for the source of his story ideas in interviews, however, he has several times, including the appearance on Amazon.com's "Fishbowl", answered, 'I have the heart of a small boy......and I keep it in a jar on my desk.' (This quote is most often attributed to Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho.)

He is known for his great eye for detail, for continuity and for inside references; many stories that may seem unrelated are often linked by secondary characters, fictional towns, or off-hand references to events in previous books. Many of the settings for King's books are in Maine, though often fictional locations.

King's books are filled with references to American history and American culture, particularly the darker, more fearful side of these. These references are generally spun into the stories of characters, often explaining their fears. Recurrent references include crime, war (especially the Vietnam War), violence, the supernatural and racism.

King is also known for his folksy, informal narration, often referring to his fans as 'Constant Readers' or 'friends and neighbors.' This familiar style contrasts with the horrific content of many of his stories.

King has a very simple formula for learning to write well: 'Read four hours a day and write four hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer.' He also has a simple definition for talent in writing: 'If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.'

Shortly after his accident, King wrote the first draft of the book "Dreamcatcher" with a notebook and a Waterman fountain pen, which he called 'the world's finest word processor.'

King's writing style throughout his novels alternates from future to past, character development (including character illumination, dynamics and revelation), and setting in each chapter - leaving a cliffhanger at the end. He then continues this process until the novel is finished.

When asked why he writes, King responds: 'The answer to that is fairly simple - there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do.'

Influences

King has called Richard Matheson 'the author who influenced me most as a writer.' Both authors casually integrate characters' thoughts into the third person narration, just one of several parallels between their writing styles. In a current edition of Matheson's "The Incredible Shrinking Man", King is quoted: 'A horror story if there ever was one...a great adventure story - it is certainly one of that select handful that I have given to people, envying them the experience of the first reading.'

King is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and refers to him several times in "Danse Macabre". Lovecraft's influence shows in King's invention of bizarre, ancient deities, subtle connections among all of his tales and the integration of fabricated newspaper clippings, trial transcripts and documents as narrative devices. King's invented trio of afflicted New England towns - Jerusalem's Lot, Castle Rock and Derry - are reminiscent of Lovecraft's Arkham, Dunwich and Innsmouth. King's short story 'Crouch End' is an explicit homage to, and part of, Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos story cycle. 'Gramma', a short story made into a film in the 1980s anthology horror show "The New Twilight Zone", mentions Lovecraft's notorious fictional creation "Necronomicon", also borrowing the names of a number of the fictional monsters mentioned therein. 'I Know What You Need' from 1976's anthology collection "Night Shift", and "'Salem's Lot" also mention the tome. Another tribute to Lovecraft is in King's short story 'Jerusalem's Lot', which opens "Night Shift". King differs markedly from Lovecraft in his focus on extensive characterization and naturalistic dialogue, both notably absent in Lovecraft's writing. In "On Writing", King is critical of Lovecraft's dialogue-writing skills, using passages from "The Colour Out of Space" as particularly poor examples. There are also several examples of King referring to Lovecraftian characters in his work, such as Nyarlathotep and Yog-Sothoth.

Edgar Allan Poe exerts a noticeable influence over King's writing as well. In "The Shining", the phrase 'And the red death held sway over all' hearkens back to Poe's 'And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all' from 'The Masque of the Red Death.' The short story 'Dolan's Cadillac' has a theme almost identical to Poe's 'The Cask of Amontillado,' including a paraphrase of Fortunato's famous plea, 'For the love of God, Montresor!' In "The Shining", King refers to Poe as 'The Great American Hack'.

King acknowledges the influence of Bram Stoker, particularly on his novel "Salem's Lot", which he envisioned as a retelling of "Dracula". Its related short story 'Jerusalem's Lot', is reminiscent of Stoker's "The Lair of the White Worm".

King has also openly declared his admiration for another, less prolific author: Shirley Jackson. "Salem's Lot" opens with a quotation from Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House". Tony, an imaginary playmate from "The Shining", bears a striking resemblance to another imaginary playmate with the same name from Jackson's "Hangsaman". A pivotal scene in "Storm of the Century" is based on Jackson's "The Lottery". A character in "Wolves of the Calla" references the Jackson book "We Have Always Lived in the Castle".

King is a big fan of John D. MacDonald and dedicated the novella "Sun Dog" to MacDonald, saying 'I miss you, old friend.' For his part, MacDonald wrote an admiring preface to an early paperback version of "Night Shift", and even had his famous character, Travis McGee, reading "Cujo" in one of the last McGee novels.

In an Amazon.com interview, King said the one book he wishes he'd written is William Golding's "Lord of the Flies".

King makes references in several of his books to characters and events in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings".

Robert A. Heinlein's book "The Door into Summer" is repeatedly mentioned in King's "Wolves of the Calla".

Collaborations

King has written two novels with acclaimed horror novelist Peter Straub, "The Talisman" and a sequel, "Black House". King has indicated that he and Straub will likely write the third and concluding book in this series, the tale of Jack Sawyer, but has set no timeline for its completion.

King also wrote the nonfiction book, "Faithful" with novelist and fellow Red Sox fanatic Stewart O'Nan.

"The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red", was a paperback tie-in for the King-penned miniseries "Rose Red". The book was published under anonymous authorship, and written by Ridley Pearson. This spin-off is a rare occasion of another author being granted permission to write commercial work using characters and story elements invented by King.

King wrote an introduction to one of Neil Gaiman's many graphic novel collections, and expressed admiration for him. He also wrote an introduction to the October 1986 400th issue of the "Batman" comic book.

Speculation that King wrote the novel "Bad Twin", a tie-in to the series "Lost", under the pseudonym Gary Troup has been discredited.

King played guitar for the rock band Rock Bottom Remainders, several of whose members are authors. Other members include Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Greg Iles. None of them claim to have any musical talent. King is a fan of the rock band AC/DC, who did the soundtrack for his 1986 film, "Maximum Overdrive". He is also a fan of The Ramones, who wrote the title song for "Pet Sematary" and appeared in the music video. They are referred to several times in various novels and stories. In addition he wrote the liner notes for their tribute album "We're a Happy Family".

Critical response

Critical responses to King's works have been mixed.

In his analysis of post-World War II horror fiction, "The Modern Weird Tale" (2001), critic S. T. Joshi devotes a chapter to King's work. Joshi argues that King's best-known works (his supernatural novels) are his worst, being mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to "deus ex machina" endings. Despite these criticisms, Joshi argues that since "Gerald's Game" (1993), King has been tempering the worst of his writing faults, producing books that are leaner, more believable and generally better written. Joshi also stresses that, despite his flaws, King almost unfailingly writes insightfully about the pains and joys of adolescence, and has produced a few outstanding books, citing two non-supernatural novels - "Rage" (1977) and "The Running Man" (1982) - as King's best: in Joshi's estimation, both books are riveting and well-constructed, with believable characters.

In 1996, King won an O. Henry Award for his short story 'The Man in the Black Suit.' In 2003, when King was honored by the National Book Awards with a lifetime achievement award: Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, there was an uproar in the literary community, with literary critic Harold Bloom denouncing the choice:

The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for 'distinguished contribution' to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.

However, in giving the award, the Foundation said, 'Stephen King's writing is securely rooted in the great American tradition that glorifies spirit-of-place and the abiding power of narrative. He crafts stylish, mind-bending page-turners that contain profound moral truths - some beautiful, some harrowing - about our inner lives. This Award commemorates Mr. King's well-earned place of distinction in the wide world of readers and book lovers of all ages.'

Others in the writing community expressed their contempt of the slight towards King. When Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as 'non-literature', Orson Scott Card responded: 'Let me assure you that King's work most definitely is literature, because it was written to be published and is read with admiration. What Snyder really means is that it is not the literature preferred by the academic-literary elite.'

In Roger Ebert's review of the 2004 movie "Secret Window", he states 'A lot of people were outraged that he King was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book "On Writing" had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style", I have gotten over my own snobbery.'

Influence on popular culture

Since the publication of "Carrie", public awareness of King and his works has reached a high saturation rate, becoming as popular as "The Twilight Zone" or the films of Alfred Hitchcock. As the best-selling novelist in the world, and the most financially successful horror writer in history, King is an American horror icon of the highest order. King's books and characters encompass primary fears in such an iconic manner that his stories have become synonymous with certain key genre ideas. "Carrie", "Christine", "Cujo", "It", and "The Shining", for example, are instantly recognizable to millions as popular shorthand for the Vengeful Nerd Wronged, the Killer Car, the Evil Dog, the Evil Clown, and the Haunted Hotel. Even King himself is so recognizable to the American public that in an American Express advertisement, the writer was able to satirize his spooky image in 30 seconds, and Gary Larson could portray a young Stephen King torturing his toys in a "Far Side" panel, without extensive explanation.

Films and TV

Many of King's novels and short stories have been made into major motion pictures or TV movies and miniseries. Unlike some authors, King is untroubled by movies based on his works differing from the original work. He has contrasted his books and its film adaptations as 'apples and oranges; both delicious, but very different.' The exception to this is "The Shining", which King criticized when it was released in 1980; and "The Lawnmower Man" (he sued to have his name removed from the credits). King seems to have gained greater appreciation for Kubrick's "The Shining" over the years. Kubrick had knocked the original novel in an interview as not 'literary,' having its merits exclusively in the plot. This understandably may have upset King. As a film, "The Lawnmower Man" bore no resemblance whatsoever to King's original short story. King's name was used solely as a faux-brand.

King made his feature film acting debut in "Creepshow", playing Jordy Verrill, a backwoods redneck who, after touching a fallen meteor in hopes of selling it, grows moss all over his body.

He has since made cameos in several adaptations of his works. He appeared in "Pet Sematary" as a minister at a funeral, in "Rose Red" as a pizza deliveryman, in "The Stand" as 'Teddy Wieszack,' in the "Shining" miniseries as band member Gage Creed and in "The Langoliers" as Tom Holby. He has also appeared in "The Golden Years", in Chappelle's Show and, along with fellow author Amy Tan, on "The Simpsons" as himself.

After a private screening of the film "Stand By Me" (which was an adaptation of his novella "The Body"), King told director Rob Reiner that it was the best film adaptation of any of his works up to that point. He said it was actually better than his original novella. King was also very happy with the job Frank Darabont did with "The Green Mile".

King produced and acted in a miniseries, "Kingdom Hospital", which is based on the Danish miniseries "Riget" by Lars von Trier. He also co-wrote The "X-Files" season 5 episode 'Chinga' with the creator of the series Chris Carter.

He is rumored to have stored in his house many of the film props from the numerous movies adapted from his original books, including the car used in "Christine" and a life-sized model of Barlow the Vampire from "'Salem's Lot". Since 1977, King has granted permission to student filmmakers to make adaptations of his short stories for one dollar (see Dollar Baby).

King is friends with film director George Romero, to whom he partly dedicated his book "Cell", and wrote a tribute about the filmmaker in "Entertainment Weekly" for his pop culture column, as well as an essay for the Elite DVD version of "Night of the Living Dead". Romero is rumored to be directing the adaptations of King's novels "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" and "From a Buick 8."

Miscellaneous

King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in "Misery". See also List of fictional books in the works of Stephen King for a complete list.

Radio stations

Stephen and wife Tabitha own The Zone Corporation, a central Maine radio station group consisting of WDME, WZON, and WKIT. The latter of the three stations, features a caricature of King as Frankenstein-esque character as part of the logo and the tagline 'Stephen King's Rock 'n' Roll Station'.

External links

(Stephen King's Official Web Site)

(Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation)

Credit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Stephen King.