Bohumil Hrabal was one of his country's most beloved authors and one of Prague's most colorful characters. Many of his stories have been made into films, such as Larks on a String (1969), Cutting It Short (1980), and Too Loud a Solitude (1995), but his best-known work is Ostre Sledovane Vlaky/Closely Watched Trains (1965), which became one the most popular films to come out of Eastern Europe. Hrabal did not become an author until he was almost 50. Before that, he graduated from Charles University in Prague with a law degree and held many odd jobs. Hrabal died in 1997 after falling from the window of a Prague hospital; apparently he had been leaning out the window to feed some birds when he lost his balance.