William S. Burroughs

Active - 1922 - 2016  |   Born - Feb 5, 1914   |   Died - Aug 2, 1997   |   Genres - Language & Literature, History, Avant-garde / Experimental, Music

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Next to Jack Kerouac, poet Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William S. Burroughs was among the primary voices of the Beat Generation and his books have earned him an enduring cult following. His most famous book, Naked Lunch, became the basis of a disturbing David Cronenberg film in 1991. Cronenberg's version of Burroughs' hallucinatory, autobiographical account of drug addiction and despair is a liberal adaptation and incorporates other elements from Burroughs' life, notably his accidental shooting of his own wife. As a cult figure, with his gaunt funereal demeanor, fedora hat, and heavy shades, Burroughs occasionally cameoed in offbeat films, notably Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and in Gus Van Sant's poorly received Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1994). Burroughs last appeared in a rock video for the group U2's "Last Night on Earth."

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