Stephen King Fear, Fame, and Fortune A&E Biography 2002

for October 31st 2002 biography with Harry Smith Stephen King his novels tap into our greatest fears inspiring sleepless nights the world over before Stephen King was a writer he was a reader he cites Richard Matheson's I am Legend as the book that hooked him on horror today it seems King writes with the same speed he once read his novel from a Buick 8 arrived in stores last month and two more volumes of the Dark Tower series are scheduled to be published within the next year what better night than Halloween to examine the life of a man who has taken such pleasure in scaring the daylights out of so many of us Stephen King is through a lot to enlarge number people's synonymous with horror we all have these fields in these terrors and he was able to touch them within ourselves the way that had never done before what made Steve different from the beginning was that he not only aspired to be a writer he just went ahead and did it he's a real basic curly guy he likes his teeth he likes his merrily he likes his truck he was severely injured I think probably more seriously than the press was aware of but you have as a body of work that literally has not been out of print any of his books since Carrie which is a tremendous achievement for any writer the movie The Green Mile is based on a serialized story written by Stephen Kane incredibly this is the 48th movie produced by Hollywood from his writings most people know Stephen King through the movies as the writer responsible for horror classics such as The Shining and Carrie but he's also the writer that penned Academy award-winning films like misery and critically acclaimed movies like the Shawshank Redemption stand by me and Dolores Claiborne King is so prolific is the most read most successful writer of this century writing has made him rich and powerful far cry from the light he grew up in the late 1940s Maine was a poor rural sparsely populated state most people struggled hard to make a living among them was Donald Edwin King after serving in the Merchant Marines during the war he found work in maim selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door in 1947 he and his wife Ruth Pillsbury King were raising their adopted two-year-old David in Portland years earlier doctors had informed Ruth that she would never bear children but that year she proved them wrong much to her surprise she discovered she was pregnant and on September 21st at Maine General Hospital she gave birth to a healthy baby boy the King's second and only natural born child Stephen Edwin King the Kings welcomed their new addition and settled back into their lives typical for most families at the time Ruth was the homemaker tending to the children and Donald was the breadwinner until 1950 when Donald changed the Kings lives forever he said Ruth I'm gonna go out and get a pack of cigarettes and that was the last she ever saw of him Ruth was abandoned along with two-year-old Steven and four-year-old David for the next nine years they traveled around the country from the east coast to the Midwest and back again sometimes they stayed with Ruth's family sometimes with Donald's Ruth always hoping that somewhere her husband would return I think what I remember most about our mom was that she was a worker and that certainly influenced the both of us I don't think anyone could ever say Steve and I are lazy the other thing I think that came from our mom was persistence she often worked two or three jobs at once just to pay their way and keep her small family afloat there were times when Ruth couldn't even afford babysitter's and had to leave her small boys alone while she worked I understood that David used to read to Steven and then get Steven to read to him and that's how they took care of each other and she came home and asked him questions to make sure that they focused on reading while she was gone but at that time they would have been like four five six very young Steven and David thrived on a steady diet of words especially mystery stories and early horror comic books like EC Comics one of Steven's favorite books was the horror classic Dracula in 1958 Ruth moved back to Durham Maine she struck a bargain with her family she would tend to her ailing parents and in return her sister ethylene gave them a house to live in Ruth was paid in goods groceries and clothing and occasionally she worked part-time to make extra money even by Durham standards the Kings were exceptionally poor their house had no indoor plumbing and in the cold Maine winters Stephen and his brother walked to their aunt's house for a hot bath the way Ruth King dealt with their circumstances with a sense of humor and the instincts of a storyteller would have a lasting influence on Stephen she worked at Thailand which was for the mentally handicapped to make the job livable only to be oh you had to have a little bit of humor about some things that maybe aren't really particularly humorous in 1959 David and Stephen combined their love of words with the self-reliance they've learned from their mother 13-year old David found an old mimeograph machine and started a local newsletter Dave's rag which sold for a nickel Stephen contributed reviews of television shows and short stories the king boys may have been the poorest kids in town but they were hard to ignore dave was so ambitious in doing everything and Steve was the reader he's kind of a big goofy kid he'd be walking down the road and he'd always be reading his book and he just he's just always worried she was gonna make it down the road at age 11 Stephen was over six feet tall awkward uncoordinated and severely myopic but he was admired by his school friends at Durham elementary for how well-read he was our family were readers all three of us and if when we were living in Durham I can remember especially if you came in at suppertime you see the three of us sit around the table each of us reading our own paper back Stephen King's world revolved around books at home he lined the walls of his room with paperbacks and when he made money doing jobs for the neighbors he would go to Lisbon Falls to indulge his second favorite pastime watching be sci-fi and horror movies he thrived on car magazines horror movies every movie that we have a winter with a nuclear horror movie he loved to be scared he I think and proven he couldn't be frightened I probably could be scared right that is good when he couldn't afford to go out Stephen would visit with his friends and stay up late watching Mexican horror movies and The Twilight Zone on television always maintaining that all the monsters ghouls and vampires that made his friends scream never scared him Stephen in fact had a long list of fear spiders closed in spaces sewers fuels the number of 13 the dark but more than anything goes even feared what he saw as the very thin line between good and evil 1959 when he was just 11 he began collecting stories about a real-life mass murderer Charlie Starkweather who'd gone on a killing spree with his girlfriend in Nebraska and Wyoming Steven dealt with his fears by writing them down in 1960 Steven discovered that his love of writing may have been no accident he stumbled upon a box in his aunt's attic and much to his surprise he discovered that his long gone father was an aspiring writer with a stack of rejection slips from magazines and the letters suggested that he had a lot of talent and asked him to resubmit other stories and I asked my mother about that one time because she kept all his stuff and she just kind of laughed and said Steven your father didn't have any persistence that's why he left the marriage Steven began submitting his own stories to magazines and he started his own collection of rejection slips but unlike his father Steven didn't stop writing he was determined to persevere until he was published in the fall Steven began attending Lisbon High School where he gained notoriety and a three-day suspension for publishing a parody of the high school newspaper called the village he also taught himself the guitar and formed a band but unlike most teenagers he had a part-time job digging graves the job inspired Stevens short story I was a teenage grave robber a tale about an orphan boy who accepts a job digging up bodies for a mad scientist and in 1965 comics review accepted the story and published it he received no money but he was finally in print Steven did well enough in high school so that he was offered a partial scholarship to Drew University a New Jersey Methodist College but his mother couldn't afford to send him so in 1966 he followed in his brother's footsteps and attended the University of Maine at Orono on campus Steven was not hard to miss a huge badly dressed bearded long-haired man I became aware of him as his presence in the class very early on he was a very forceful and vocal he spoke up in class he had very perceptive things to say and one area that Steven became very vocal in was the anti-vietnam war movement his protest of the form of writing a regular column in the campus newspaper called king's garbage truck besides the forty seven columns he wrote King published a serialized comic Western called Slade and wrote novels we have many students who aspire to be writers but what made Steve different from the beginning was that he not only aspired to be a writer he just went ahead and did it as a junior in college I remember he had five novels completed so he was very prolific writer and in 1966 his freshman year he received his first check thirty-five dollars from startling mystery stories for his short story the glass floor he wrote constantly but his writing wasn't earning him a living he was still desperately poor to supplement the $5 a week his mother sent him Steven took a part-time job in the university library in the stacks he met Tabitha Spruce a history major and aspiring poet he really was literally the poorest college student from my life that he was wearing at that point in his life cutoff gum rubbers because he couldn't afford shoes tabitha was the third of eight children from a working-class family in Old Town Bangor the two shared a love of books and writing we fell in love we had a kid and then we got married because that's the way it was done sometimes in the 60s they named their first child a girl Naomi in January 1971 just after Stephen graduated they were married the family moved into a trailer in Herman Maine just outside Bangor King had expected to find teaching work but had not been lucky instead he pumped gas for minimum wage and worked at a commercial laundry in Bangor for $1 60 an hour Tabitha went to work at Dunkin Donuts at night if I had moments when I was working at new Franklin laundry in Bangor when I felt depressed too downhearted it was when I thought all I've managed to do with my college education is to replicate my mother's life what little time Stephen had after working all day and then playing father was spent at the typewriter this he felt would be his ticket out of poverty finally in the fall of 1971 Stephen landed a job as an English teacher at the Hamden Academy his income would be about 4,600 dollars a year it was respectable but it was also his personal nightmare he would earn enough money to get by but live a life as a frustrated writer even in his wildest dreams Stephen King couldn't have imagined how different his life was going to be in early 1972 Stephen King was a 24 year old college graduate working as an English teacher and struggling to make ends meet he was married with a three-year-old daughter and his wife Tabitha was expecting again their home was a rented trailer times were so lean that the Kings periodically asked the phone company to disconnect their service because they couldn't pay their bills Stephen and Tabitha's second child Joseph was born on June 4th 1972 that summer Stephen went back to work in an industrial laundry to supplement his income as a teacher during the fall he taught all day came home marked papers and then prepared lessons before retiring to the trailers furnace room to write for at least two hours a night Stephen sat in the cramped space balancing a typewriter on a child's desk on his lap banging out stories he soon developed a clientele for his work men's magazines like Cavalier dude Ghent and Swank I wanted to send my mother some of these stories that I published but what I ran him through the Xerox machine at the library at the University of Maine because they had all these ads you know like dial one eight hundred and stuff like that on side and so I didn't necessarily wanted to see that Stephen was making around $200 a story that money went out the minute it came in often it would arrive just in time to cover the latest emergency for rent for the double-wide trailer that they had for medicine for the kids it was always one emergency after another as it is when you're newlyweds and you've got kids and there's there's more bills and there is money Stephen wrote stories as fast as he could but as his financial responsibilities mounted it was hard for him to imagine he'd ever break the cycle of just making enough to survive his frustration sometimes led him to the local bar or to the poker table where he'd spend the night smoking cigarettes and gambling with his buddies that in turn would cause more stress at home I think I was more angry at the five bucks that went on every week for the for the kind of cigarettes then I was anything else it was the literal burning of money that told me books had always been Stevens refuge he was used to getting lost in them now he had to face the fact that he could not afford even those we would sometimes fight about his buying a hardcover book because those two were also very expensive or in that kind of budget just when it looked like things were getting really bleak Stephen realized he'd made a valuable friend Bill Thompson a veteran Doubleday editor had accepted and read three of his manuscripts but he couldn't convince Doubleday to publish them so I hadn't heard from him in a while and somebody had just given me a country-music calendar and so I mailed it on to him and I said do you realize your birthday is the same as AJ Carter of the Carter Family you know and why haven't I heard from you I don't want to see you on the sign that used to list Steven was working on a short story he was hoping to sell to cavalier a girlie magazine for a few hundred dollars it was about Carrie Etta white the backward daughter of a religious fanatic the ultimate teenage outsider but King thought he didn't know enough about teenage girls to be true to the character so he tossed it he put it in the trash can he put the first part of it in the trash can and as I was emptying the cam and I picked it up and noticed it was a fairly significant block of writing so I already Steven still thought it was a loser but at Tabitha's insistence he finished it and sent it to Bill and it was this novel Carrie and now this one has legs to it this one weekend we can really do something with so I said I hate to ask you to do this would you please do some rewrite on this I'd go really go for it I'll go to the wall on this one Steven made the changes resubmitted the manuscript and went back to worrying about paying the bills once again the Kings asked the phone company to disconnect their phone and one day when I was in the teachers room the loudspeaker came on and said mr. King will you come to the office you have a call from your wife and I hurried up to the office with my heart gone a hundred miles an hour in my chest because I thought to myself one of two things has happened either the baby as something's wrong with a baby or I've sold a book and she had had a telegram from Bill Thompson he had to send a telegram because he couldn't call we had no phone and then the telegram said Carrie officially a double date book the future lies ahead love Bill Thompson and it said as a PS $2,500 okay question mark $2,500 was very okay seemed like a a fortune to us Doubleday would release Carrie and April of 1974 and Tabitha moved to an apartment in Bangor Maine and got a phone installed Steven even toyed with the idea of quitting teaching but he had no illusions about the book business he didn't think he could depend on it to make a living what he didn't know was that the Doubleday subsidiary rights department was talking to new American Library a paperback book publisher they also found the story of Carrie Etta white very appealing I think their first offer was either two hundred to two hundred and fifty thousand for the paperback rights on this well this just blew us all out of the water and you know a banker who was our subsidiary rights man and you know a great poker player you know well actually we were looking for more than that and I say to Bill how much and he said six figures four hundred thousand dollars the phone was on the wall in the kitchen and all the strength ran out of my legs and I just kind of slid down the wall like I remember my shirt teeth coming out of my pants until my butt was on the linoleum at the time Doubledays policy was to split the money from paperback sales evenly with the author Stephen would get two hundred thousand dollars enough for him to quit teaching and write full-time but one of the people who mattered the most to Stephen never took part in his success his mother had seen the manuscript of Carrie and she knew that double they would publish it she never saw the book in December 1973 after a long painful battle with one cancer Ruth King died she was 59 years old you know here he had finally met hit the big time and his mother just seen a glimpse of it and he'd wished you know that she just could live longer Stephen was devastated especially when he learned after his mother's death that the five dollars a week she'd sent him in college often meant she'd gone without food but he also realized that he had gotten much more from her Ruth worked hard and persevered and those same qualities had gotten him off the ground but Stephen had to wrestle with another demon would he be just a one-book wonder in 1973 26 year-old Stephen King received a $200,000 advance for the paperback rights for his first novel carry a book that he'd originally thrown into the trash the money turned him from struggling high school English teacher to published author with enough money to quit his job and do what he'd been dreaming about since he was 11 years old right full-time it also allowed him for the first time in his life to indulge himself I remember as an undergraduate he would talk about when he sold his first novel he was going to buy a I believe it was a pink Cadillac convertible and come back to campus with his big connor and sort of drive her out King decided against the pink Cadillac instead he bought a red white and blue one though he was still humble enough to ditch it when he went back home to visit his friends in Durham and he drove this like 64 Dodge dot all rusted out ugliest looking guy you ever saw and he said yeah he just was a little embarrassed coming back home driving that great big red white and blue Cadillac so he drove this hundred dollar car the money didn't change Stephen all that much he was still modest and he was still afraid that he'd never really be a successful writer Carey he thought might be a fluke he didn't know if he was just a one-book wonder this is not a dumb man and I think he felt I got it and it but I can also go away I'm going to enjoy your Twyla's here Stephen wrote constantly churning out 1500 words a day his inspirations came from the people he met incidences in his own life and the day-to-day life in rural Maine his next book Salem's Lot was a story about Dracula set in a small town in Maine he sent the manuscript off to Doubleday they bought the book and sold the paperback rights for $500,000 again Stephen got at his first two novels had made him almost half a million dollars phenomenal for a new writer and there was the promise of more money from the movies with the success of Rosemary's Baby horror was hot in Hollywood and Columbia Pictures optioned his first book care but King couldn't shake the fear that he'd ultimately fail at what he wanted so badly he thought a change of scene might inspire more books and for the first time in his life he had the financial freedom to leave Maine in the fall of 1974 the kings climbed into their new Cadillac and drove to Boulder Colorado in Boulder Stephen had a hard time focusing on work he started one story after another but nothing clicked thinking a few days off might help he asked the locals where he and Tabitha and the children could spend a quiet weekend they recommended the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and they were in fact getting ready to shut down for the winter season they check in and they practically have the whole hotel to themselves Kings imagination started going into overtime he would walk down the hall and he would see a fire hose all coiled up and in his mind he could visualize it and hear it thumping on the ground coming to life he began work on the story of a little boy with paranormal powers who is in danger of being overcome by the evil in the haunted Overlook Hotel and whose life is threatened by his drunken father but this was not just another horror story Stephen was writing about his own experiences anybody who's been married three or four years who's coping with basically no funds and everything else there's a lot of stress interpersonal stress and a lot of that stuff went into the novel that I wrote The Shining that had to do with booze that had to do with anger with a lot of the things that I felt at that time King finished the shining in Colorado though Boulder had inspired him Stephens heart was in the East he missed New England's small towns in 1975 he and his family returned to Maine Stephens second book Salem's Lot was released around Halloween the paperback quickly followed it sold well to readers of horror fiction but late in 1976 a whole new audience discovered Stephen King with the movie release of caring starring Sissy Spacek it was a box-office smash the film made for less than two million dollars grossed thirty million dollars in the United States alone Steven loved it he loved what director Brian De Palma had done with the film and he loved reaching a whole new audience and with the success of caring Hollywood loved him what the film Kerry did was it put King on the map in a way that a book just won't you want to get people that aren't going to go into the bookstore these are the non book readers you know a movie like Carrie will get them into the stores high sales gave Stephen the confidence to ask Doubleday to publish books that had been rejected before Carrie was released Steven was keen to have the first novel he ever wrote rage published the story was about a student who takes over a school and holds his classmates hostage but double they didn't want to saturate the market with his name so he convinced his paperback publishers to release rage under a pseudonym Richard Bachman rage by Richard Bachman came and sank like a stone I mean the world was not looking for a Richard Bachman book and I think I think he was somewhat disappointed by that but they were looking for the next Stephen King book and in 1977 Doubleday published The Shining 50,000 hardcover books were sold and Stephen was in a whole new league it was his first hardback bestseller the paperback went on to sell almost two and a half million copies Stephen King's first three books were all bestsellers but with his fourth book The Stand released in 1978 King produced his masterpiece this book here is probably everybody's favorite the one they strive to get it sells in excess of twelve hundred dollars now the stand is the is in terms of Kings fiction it's unique here's a man who can write characters large and small much like a Dickens landscape the stand is an apocalyptic novel about a super that kills most of the population the survivors are engaged in a battle of good against evil the original manuscript was 1200 pages long and weighed in at 12 and a half pounds Doubleday refused to release it before Stephen trimmed 400 pages Stephen had made millions for Doubleday he felt like he had the right to call his own shots but they insisted to make matters worse because of an earlier contract which doled out money in small yearly increments he wasn't even seeing his share of the profits but what sent Stephen over the top was the way the executives at Doubleday treated their number-one author every time he came to New York and to meet me or to you know go over a manuscript whatever it was it seemed that every time that I was walking the halls with him and some of the brass would go by they never once recognized I might have to interview introduce him again in 1978 he quit Doubleday and negotiated a deal with new American library his paperback book publishers they gave him a two and a half million dollar advance for three books he'd come a long way from the writer who just seven years before had wept with joy and his twenty five hundred dollar advance for carry he would never again be a struggling writer he had money and fame he'd learned that his good fortune came at a price in 1978 31 year-old Stephen King was the hottest new writer in America his first four books had made him a millionaire now Stephen his wife Tabitha and their three children could live anywhere that they chose to stay close to home in Maine they rented a house outside Bangor in pouring ttan on a busy road that they soon discovered was treacherous in fact so many animals were killed by speeding trucks that they had their own burial ground the woods behind Stephens backyard one of the kids would have his wagon put the body in the wagon wheel it hear everything hi ceremony willing here dig little graves bury them make markers then they sit and have a little after burial party when Stephens cat smokey was killed it too was buried in the animal resting place and then the Kings had a brush with every parent's worst nightmare their youngest child was almost killed on the road like many of Stephens worst fears it became a novel Pet Sematary the story of a father who brings his child back from the dead and must live with the consequences and of course in the book the two-year-old is killed on the road and and I found that very very hard to read and deal with Stephen a devoted father was terrified by what he had written he put the manuscript in a drawer for three years and left he began writing another book the deadzone a book based on his anxiety about how to deal with his extraordinary talents and the problems they brought him as king became more popular his fans became more persistent sometimes showing up at his home to ask for money Stephen found it more and more difficult to guard his privacy I would said to him that I thought the deadzone was an autobiographical novel the situation in the dead zone where you have this person with this gifts that and since it makes life very difficult for him because everybody wants the kind of piece of the gift do you know me that included commercial advertisers and Hollywood studios his books were optioned for movies almost as quickly as they were written in 1979 Stanley Kubrick's The Shining was released King loves movies and King sees movies a lot and of course when Kubrick's name came up he was initially very enthusiastic because he was familiar with Kubrick's body of work and he had great expectations the movie was a box-office sensation one of Warner Brothers top grossing films of all time King thought the movie was visually stunning and scary but Kubrick had ignored an important theme in the book the disintegration of the family Kubrick kinda dismisses the the genuine subtext of the book and instead kind of creates his own story based on Jack being nuts but it doesn't tell the story the way he wrote it King wielded his considerable clout and demanded that from then on he would have a say and who directed his stories he distrusted Hollywood and wanted to keep his distance from the star scene he also needed privacy even security from his ever persistent fan in 1980 he bought a Victorian mansion in Bangor Maine it took craftsmen three years to renovate the 126 year old house the boy who'd grown up with no indoor plumbing now had a 47 foot indoor swimming pool and in true Stephen King style there are bats outside and inside the house then we have bats in the house which we do get because the house I'm the one who's in charge of bat control I I capture the bat and put it out and he just comfortable in his privacy with his family Kings writing output exploded between 1980 and 1984 he published 14 novels and they were just the tip of the iceberg he also wrote poetry plays original screenplays and short stories some of King's work like The Shining was now being taught as part of college courses how evil presents itself to us but not everyone admired him literary critics generally ripped apart his writing saying he was a hack he just churned out books for money what was worse as far as Stephen was concerned was that a growing number of school libraries were banning his books the furor increased when a series of school shootings were reportedly inspired by King's novel rage published under his now revealed pseudonym Richard Bachman if there's anything that I regret in my career its publishing the novel rage several kids have killed teachers or held classes hostage who apparently had read that book read it recently and in some cases one kid in Lexington Kentucky and read the book several times but King would not apologize for the rest of his work in fact he is a vocal supporter of free speech and in 1986 he helped spearhead a campaign against banning books at a rally held in Virginia Beach that same year Stephen emerged as more than the king of horror one of his short stories the body was released as the movie Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner [Applause] none of us could breathe somewhere under those bushes was the rest of Ray Brower the coming-of-age story said in Maine was based on a true incident from Steven's childhood and the four young boys were composite sketches of his childhood friends from Durham when Steven saw the film it evoked emotional memories and when the movie was over he said look you got to give me some time I got it I can't talk now and we went outside for about 20 minutes and he just sat inside by himself and it took him that long to recover because it was a very painful you know very painful experience for him to have to relive that time by the end of the 1980s Stephen King had sold over 100 million books he was one of the most powerful men in publishing and in Hollywood the self-described hick from Maine ran an empire that included movies books television series CDs and audio by then he was having a hard time keeping her from leaping back across the room in grabbing David his rags-to-riches story was like something out of a Hollywood movie unlike the fiction he wrote it looked like he was headed for a happy ending until one fateful day in June 1999 by the late 1980s Stephen King wielded considerable clout in both the literary world and in Hollywood he had published more than 30 books 16 of which had been made into movies the inspiration for many of these books came from small towns in Maine Maine had been good to him he was now able to be good to Maine in Bangor there was no suitable field for little league baseball his youngest son Owen was a good pitcher and Stephen a lifelong baseball fan decided it was time to step up to the plate when he came up with the idea of the of the Little League field here on in Bangor it was all out of his pocket and was all out of the the fact that he wanted the kids to have something about they could cry on there was a decent field nor did Stephen forget the importance of the Public Library in his formation as a writer with his wife Tabitha as chairperson they spearheaded a drive to raise funds to expand the local Bangor library he even put his boyhood dream of becoming a rock star to good use he bought the local rock station wzo n to ensure its survival on rhythm guitar Stephen King and B and other writers including columnist Dave berry toured under the name Rock Bottom Remainders to raise money for literacy for America and other causes I think Stevens biggest fear is that suddenly the entire band will stop and turn to him and go take it singing solos aside it seemed as if a lot of Steven's personal demons had been conquered he never need to earn another cent or worry about failure or the inability to be the kind of father and family man he wanted to be he could write just for the joy of it and his work was gaining new respect the 1990 film misery based on his 1987 novel earned four Academy Award nominations misery portrays an author who had given up the genre he'd been writing in to try something new through a twist of fate he is captured by his self-described number-one fan a terrifying woman who holds him in a snow-bound cabin until he writes one more novel for her I'm sorry Paul this is all wrong what you'll have to do it over again it's not worthy of you throw it all out except for that part of naming the gravedigger after me you can leave that in I really value your criticism but maybe you were being a little hasty here overzealous fans are not unknown to Steven despite security his banger home was broken into one night in April 1991 while he was out and Tabitha was alone he came in the window and he said I have a bomb when I'm going to kill you and he said oh why not the window in my eye went out the door nearest door mr. Thomas but if celebrity stalkers were the downside of success Stephen King had weathered celebrity better than others the public never seems to tire of his stories throughout the 1990s his books continue to be blockbusters and his TV mini-series were and with movies such as Dolores Claiborne and the Shawshank Redemption he was getting more respect as a serious writer has been a significant shift in the last 10 years people saw him as a popular and moneyed writer and now they think many people are seeing them as an important writer smile you're on America's Most Wanted by 1999 King had more than he ever could have dreamed over 300 million copies of his books were in worldwide circulation he had money Fame and growing respect his children had grown up and left home he and Tabitha were looking forward to a new phase of life they thought about buying a home in Florida far from the harsh Maine winters where they could retire then in June the man who had made his name in horror became part of a horror story himself even was hit by a car close to his home in he was severely injured I think probably more seriously than the press was aware of Steve almost lost his life in fact one of the empties that was at the scene told him later that he was surprised that Steve did in fact survive the accident Steven sustained injuries to his lungs he broke his leg ribs and fractured his hip for weeks he was hospitalized undergoing numerous operations losing over 100 pounds from all the surgery but finally in late 1999 he was well enough to attend the premiere of a new film based on his story the Green Mile Steven claims that his biggest nightmare after the accident was that he would not be able to write again for a man who's devoted his whole life to writing and who is now the most popular writer alive it would be a tragic end to a remarkable career but in late 1999 he was back at his desk pounding out new stories writing a new chapter in an amazing life story you want to know what I'm really afraid of in terms of my work is that I won't know when it's time to stop unless he is mellowing and because of his age I think he's always going to write the same kind of book yes something whispering yes he is the one that touches that the dark corner of fear haunted and that thought like so much that it happened to him since his mother the work he's done is astonishing not only in terms of the volume of work but the kinds of material and the kinds of characters is created I think he's one of the great storytellers ever his face began to change his David had never there's a very strong sense that Stephen King has chronicled the second half of this century in a way that people will want to read it 50 years a hundred years in the future as if his mind and body it turned into some sort of pipe he is in there I know heals an adaptation of Stephen King's novel dreamcatcher is scheduled to hit theaters this February the film stars Morgan Freeman as a colonel sent to aid four men locked in a battle with aliens that control humans like puppets for more on Stephen King's family tree log on to genealogy

15 thoughts on “Stephen King Fear, Fame, and Fortune A&E Biography 2002

  1. He’s just a cool guy. Like seems like someone, his wife too, you’d just wanna have over for some board games. I agree the most “frightening” thing about many of his stories is how we can all relate to the evil in us all, the human aspect. Look at Shawshank and Green Mike just as a couple instances.

  2. The most terrifying thing the wordslinger ever wrote :
    "Well that's all I have for now." "Stay tuned for the next installment."

  3. A few people make the good point about leaving his drug addictions that almost destroyed his family. They didn't want to touch that, I understand, but they really should've.

  4. wow … they need another whole biography to cover the next body of work. No one creates a character like Stephen King. Aayuh

  5. I'm not much of a reader with Stephen King's types of books that he writes but I do have respect for a talented author and what he's achieved in becoming a published author. This biography about him kind of helps understand a little bit more about why he writes the type of books that he writes

  6. Shame on A&E. They did not really talk about his issues with addiction or the Dark Tower series. Just an overview of his life–not that deep.

  7. He deserves every single penny he earns! The man is a literal genious, and my favorite author, my inspiration to write.

  8. People make such a mistake thinking SK is all about horror. This man knows human drama and relationships like no other!!

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