Author Ray Bradbury dies, aged 91


Ray Bradbury told Terry Wogan his writing talent came from his prolific memory and "voices inside my head"

Related Stories

Author Ray Bradbury has died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.

His daughter Alexandra confirmed that her father died on Tuesday night in Southern California.

Bradbury wrote hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and television and film scripts in a career dating back to the 1940s.

His most famous novels include Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

The writer's grandson, Danny Karapetian, said: "He influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it's always really touching and comforting to hear their stories.

"His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theatre, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him".

Start Quote

He was one of those few people who actually exceeds your expectations”

End Quote Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat

Tributes have been paid by famous fans of the writer, Moon director Duncan Jones mourned "another amazing sci-fi visionary gone".

Bradbury was born in Illinois, and as a teenager moved with his family to Los Angeles.

For three years after leaving school he earned a living selling newspapers, writing in his spare time.

From the early 1940s, his short stories started to appear in magazines like Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction and Captain Future.

In 1947, he married Marguerite 'Maggie' McClure and published his first book, Dark Carnival.

Three years later, Bradbury began to establish his reputation with The Martian Chronicles, a collection of stories about materialistic Earthmen colonising and ruinously exploiting Mars.

His most celebrated novel, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, depicts a future society in which books are banned.

The story, which gets its title from the temperature at which paper supposedly ignites, proved to be uncannily prophetic - the characters are addicted to television soap operas, while miniature headphones, known as "ear thimbles", provide a constant stream of music and news.

Ray Bradbury Bradbury preferred his work to be called "fantasy" rather than "science fiction"

A film version, directed by Francois Truffaut, was released in 1966.

For years, Bradbury tried to prevent the publication of Fahrenheit 451 as an e-book. He told the New York times that electronic books "smell like burned fuel" and called the internet "a big distraction".

"It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere," he said.

But he relented in 2011, when his publishing deal was renewed. His agent said: "We explained the situation to him, that a new contract wouldn't be possible without e-book rights. He understood and gave us the right to go ahead."

Bradbury also wrote several works for film and television. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston's film Moby Dick and scripts for many TV series, including Suspense, The Alfred Hitchcock Show and The Twilight Zone.

Bradbury was passionate about literature. In 2008, he told The National Endowment for the Arts: "If you know how to read, you have a complete education about life, then you know how to vote within a democracy.

"But if you don't know how to read, you don't know how to decide. That's the great thing about our country - we're a democracy of readers, and we should keep it that way."

The author had four daughters - Susan, Ramona, Bettina and Alexandra. His wife died in 2003.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Ray Bradbury got me interested as a Kid. He kept me interested when I was older. Something Wicked, Green Shadows and Dandelion Wine are masterpieces. We have lost a great man. Very Sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    A brilliant light has gone out...

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Ray Bradbury was one of my favourite contemporary authors. Virtually everything he ever wrote resonated deeply with my own vision & understanding of the cosmos. Although some defined him as a "science fiction & fantasy writer," in fact many of his stories had the incisive economy of perceptive philosophical parables rather than elaborate fantasy "escapism." I kept hoping he would get the Nobel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Sad to see him go. This man and his work got me through my 'O' grade and 'Higher' English. Without his works I would have had no interest and would have probably failed. Great writer and always seemed like a genuine and considerate individual. RIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    May your sphere of light cast its magical glow over us and drift lightly among us forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    “Death doesn't exist. It never did, it never will. But we've drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we've got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.”
    ― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    He sparked my interest in early sci-fi, and was always my favourite, but led me also to read Robert Bloch and others, whose imaginations took me to another level of fascination with the genre. Up there with HG Wells, and I can't
    pay him a higher complment.
    A great loss, and will be sadly missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    What a legend ! He had the imagination to envisage a future where people sat like zombies watching floor to ceiling 4 wall surround TV's, and listed to music and news via devices plugged into their ears, where privacy had all but disappeared, and where humans got drunk and vomited in the streets of deserted Martian cities. An amazing writer with a unique voice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    This is indeed a sad loss. I first read The Martian Chronicles more than 30 years ago and it has haunted me ever since. Hard to say why - perhaps because it seems all too plausible.

    Thanks Ray.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I encountered Ray Bradbury via the TV adaption of 'The Silver Locusts' as the 'Martian Chronicles'. I have read a lot of his other work sin the years since. A sad day. Thank you for the amazing writing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    That's a shame, I recently wrote my thesis and Fahrenheit 451 was a big influence. I got a 2.1 so I should thank Bradbury for his part in my success. Rest in peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    "30.MrAdamo " Oh come off it, the sadness is because we, the living, have lost someone held in great affection and admiration.

    There is no dichotomy involved in feeling said whilst celebrating his life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The last SF writer of the Golden Age is gone.His legacy is th people who have taken us to the Moon and will carry us out into the Solar System.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I'll never understand this customary sadness. He lived a good life and died what appears to have been a natural death, at the ripe old age of 91. He's now off into the great unknown.. It should be celebrated respectfully, whilst we reflect on the contributions he made to sci-fi culture and literature in general. Nobody lives forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    A few years ago I wanted to adapt two of his short stories for an amateur drama group, and wrote to him care of his agent - and was amazed to I receive a personal handwritten reply from him giving me permission to make the adaptations - the only condition being to send him copies of the script. A real gentleman as well as a brilliant writer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Never say he didn't warn you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    One of the few writers we were required to read in school that I really enjoyed, and more I can revisit his work even now with an deeper appreciation. We have lost one of a handful of living legends.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    RIP Ray. Hopefully your readers will take heed of the warnings you tried to communicate to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Bradbury made his readers think and whether in paper or electronic editions his works will continue to delight and reward future readers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    As a young UK student I chanced on a Ray Bradbury paperback in the 1960's and was immediately taken with his short SF stories - my first introduction to SF - so beautifully written with a lovely prose style that made you want to seek further his utterly convincing out-of-this-world terrifying written scenes of a future world. Ray's poetic SF vision will always be remembered.


Page 6 of 8


More Entertainment & Arts stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.