Ray Bradbury Additional Biography

Biography

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Ray Douglas Bradbury often makes use of his own life in his writings, and he insisted that he had total recall of the myriad experiences of his life through his photographic—some would say eidetic—memory: He stated that he always had vivid recollections of the day of his birth, August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois. Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, his father, was a lineman with the Bureau of Power and Light (his distant ancestor Mary Bradbury was among those tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts); Esther Marie (née Moberg) Bradbury, his mother, had emigrated from Sweden to the United States when she was very young. A child with an exceptionally lively imagination, Ray Bradbury amused himself with his fantasies but experienced anguish from his nightmares. His mother took him to his first film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), when he was three years old, and he was both frightened and entranced by Lon Chaney’s performance. This experience originated his lifelong love affair with motion pictures, and he wrote that he could remember the scenes and plots of all the films that he ever attended.

As he grew up, Bradbury passed through a series of passions that included circuses, dinosaurs, and Mars (the latter via the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs). Neva Bradbury, an aunt, assisted his maturation as a person and writer by introducing him to the joys of fairy tales, L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, live theater, and the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. In Bradbury’s own view, the most important event in his childhood occurred in 1932 when a carnival came to town. He attended the performance of a magician, Mr. Electrico, whose spellbinding act involved electrifying himself to such an extent that sparks jumped between his teeth and every white hair on his head stood erect. Bradbury and the magician became friends, and their walks and talks along the Lake Michigan shore behind the carnival so energized his imagination that, a few weeks after this encounter, he began to compose stories for several hours a day. One of his first efforts was a sequel to a Martian novel of Burroughs.

During the Depression, Bradbury’s father had difficulty finding work, and in...

(The entire section is 898 words.)

Biography

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ray Douglas Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois. His father, Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, whose distant ancestor Mary Bradbury was among those tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, in the seventeenth century, was a lineman with the Waukegan Bureau of Power and Light; his mother, Esther Marie (née Moberg) Bradbury, emigrated to the United States from Sweden when she was a child. When he was three years old, his mother took him to his first film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), and he was frightened and entranced by Lon Chaney’s performance in this film and, later, in The Phantom of the Opera (1925). As a child, Bradbury passed through a series of enthusiasms, from monsters to circuses to dinosaurs and eventually to the planet Mars. His development through childhood was aided by an older brother and by an aunt, Neva Bradbury, a costume designer, who introduced him to the theater and to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

In 1932, Bradbury’s family moved to Arizona, where they had previously spent some time in the mid-1920’s, largely because of his father’s need to find work. In 1934 the family left behind both Arizona and Waukegan, settling in Los Angeles, which became Bradbury’s permanent home. He attended Los Angeles High School and joined the Science Fiction Society (he had earlier begun reading Hugo Gernsback’s magazine Amazing Stories, which, he said, made him fall in love with the future). After graduation, Bradbury worked for several months in a theater group sponsored by the actor Laraine Day, and for several years he was a newsboy in downtown Los Angeles. He took these jobs to support his writing, an avocation that he hoped would soon become a vocation.

His poor eyesight prevented him from serving in the military during World War II, which left him free to launch his writing career. During the early 1940’s he began to publish his stories in such pulp magazines as Weird Tales and Amazing Stories, but by the late 1940’s his work was appearing in such mass-market magazines as...

(The entire section is 855 words.)

Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Ray Douglas Bradbury used his elegiac short stories, often in the genres of fantasy and science fiction, to comment on the beguiling power of the imagination and the dehumanizing pressures of technocracies. Bradbury was born to Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a lineman with the Waukegan Bureau of Power and Light, and Esther Marie (Moberg) Bradbury, who had emigrated as a child from Sweden. Bradbury’s older brother later appeared in fictionalized form in his stories.

The most important event of Bradbury’s childhood occurred when he was twelve years old and a carnival came to town for the Labor Day weekend. After attending the performance of a magician, Mr. Electrico, who sat in an electric chair, causing sparks to jump between his teeth and every white hair on his head to stand erect, Bradbury and the magician became friends. Their walks and talks along the Lake Michigan shore behind the carnival so energized the boy’s imagination that, a few weeks after this encounter, he began to write stories for at least four hours a day, a practice that soon became a habit.

In 1932 his family moved to Arizona, where they had lived in the mid-1920’s, largely because of his father’s need to find work. In 1934 the family settled in Los Angeles, which became Ray Bradbury’s permanent home. He attended Los Angeles High School, where he became involved with theatricals and journalism, and he went to film theaters several times a week. He also wrote a thousand words a day and joined the Science Fiction League, where he met such professional writers as Henry Kuttner and Leigh Brackett, with whom he later collaborated. After graduating from high school in 1938 Bradbury worked for several months in a theater group sponsored by the actress Laraine Day and for several years as a newsboy in downtown Los Angeles. He took these jobs for subsistence while he dedicated most of his energy to writing. His early efforts owed much to William S. Burroughs, but as he grew older he began studying such writers as Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway. His own style reflected these influences, blending the clean colloquial rhythms of Hemingway and the rich poetic metaphors of Wolfe.

Bradbury’s poor eyesight prevented him from serving in the army during World War II, which left him free to launch his writing career. In the early 1940’s he submitted stories to such pulp magazines as Weird Tales and Amazing Stories. His first published story, “Pendulum,” a collaborative effort, appeared in 1941. His first independent sale, “The Piper,” appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories in February, 1943, but was preceded into print by “The Candle,” which was published in the November, 1942, issue of Weird Tales. As a young writer he received stimulus by going to Los Angeles libraries and reading randomly until story ideas came tumbling into his mind. In 1945 he sold “The Big Black and White Game” to the prestigious American Mercury, and it was later republished in The Best American Short Stories of 1946. His stories soon began to appear regularly in such magazines as Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and Mademoiselle. These magazines paid well and allowed him to marry Marguerite Susan McClure, who at one time taught English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and with whom he had four daughters.

Dark Carnival, Bradbury’s first book, resulted from the encouragement of August Derleth, a publisher of fantasy literature. This compilation of early horror stories also includes poetic portrayals of the lonely and the anguished. In his second book, he abandoned...

(The entire section is 1525 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Raymond Douglas Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, to Leonard Spaulding and Esther Moberg Bradbury. He began his...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, where he spent his early years. During the Depression, his father, a power...

(The entire section is 461 words.)

Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois, where he spent his early years. During the depression, his father, a power...

(The entire section is 465 words.)

Biography

(Short Stories for Students)

Ray Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois to Esther Moberg and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury. The family moved often during...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Ray Bradbury Published by Gale Cengage

Born on the 22nd of August. 1920, in Waukegan. Illinois, Raymond Douglas Bradbury spent his childhood in this small town located north of...

(The entire section is 469 words.)

Biography

(Novels for Students)

Ray Bradbury was born to Leonard Spaulding and Esther Moberg Bradbury on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois. He spent his formative...

(The entire section is 501 words.)