Garrison Keillor was born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942, to Grace Denham Keillor and John Keillor of Anoka, Minnesota. He was the third of six children. He graduated from Anoka High School in 1960 and completed a bachelor’s degree with a major in English from the University of Minnesota in 1966. He was raised in the Sanctified Brethren Christian denomination, but he later became an Episcopalian. He has been married three times: to Mary Guntzel (1965-1976), Ulla Skaerved (1985-1990), and Jenny Lind Nilsson (1995-present). He is the father of a son, Jason, with Guntzel and a daughter, Maia, with Nilsson. He has lived in New York, Denmark, and Wisconsin, and now resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Keillor, who was already hosting a morning radio program in Minneapolis, was inspired to begin his radio variety program after writing a piece on the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker in 1974. He has hosted a weekly radio variety show for more than thirty years, in addition to touring with various musical groups during his show’s summer breaks. A Prairie Home Companion has become a Saturday-night institution for many public radio listeners. It consists of two hours of comedy skits, which Keillor writes himself, fake commercials for such products as Powdermilk Biscuits and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique, and live music from a variety of guests. A regular ensemble of actors performs skits that are presented as episodes of recurring “shows” such as Guy Noir: Private Eye and The Lives of the Cowboys.