Charles Bukowski

Active - 1970 - 2016  |   Born - Aug 16, 1920   |   Died - Mar 9, 1994   |   Genres - Language & Literature, Drama, Crime, Comedy Drama, Theater

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Charles Bukowski made a career of writing gritty short stories, poems, novels, and the occasional screenplay. His favorite subjects concerned life among the drunken, the destitute, the degraded, and the debauched. That he spent most of his life living that way himself only added an intriguing realism, albeit an often unpleasant one, to his work. Bukowski was born in Germany, the son of a German woman and a U.S. soldier stationed in Anderbach during the American occupation. When Bukowski was still a tot, the family moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he had a tough childhood. An alcoholic for the bulk of his life, Bukowski spent his young adult years wandering from job to job and living in assorted flop houses, until he landed a job working for the U.S. Post Office. He remained there for a decade and then began focusing on his writing. He started to write in the early '40s, and though he would later deny it, would publish steadily in obscure literary journals for the next four decades. After his poems were published in the Los Angeles Free Press in the mid-'50s, Bukowski began to gather a cult following. From there, he hit his most prolific period, producing more than 40 novels, countless poems, and short stories. He also dabbled occasionally in screenplays, the most famous of which is Barfly (1987), a hard-hitting autobiographical account of a pair of emotionally involved alcoholics starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway. In 1989, Bukowski published Hollywood, a book about his screenwriting experience. Some of his other books have also been made into feature films, including Tales of Ordinary Madness, which is based on a similarly-titled 1973 book. From 1976 until the time of his death, Bukowski was married to Linda Lee Beighle.

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