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William S. Burroughs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.   William Seward Burroughs II ; also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997 was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author who affected popular culture as well as literature. He is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century."[1] Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. Burroughs also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films. He was born to a wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri, grandson of the founder of the Burroughs Corporation, William Seward Burroughs I, and nephew of public relations manager Ivy Lee. Burroughs began writing essays and journals in early adolescence. He left home in 1932 to attend Harvard University, studying English and anthropology, but after being turned down by the Office of Strategic Services and U.S. Navy to serve in World War II, dropped out and spent the next twenty years working a variety of jobs. In 1943 while living in New York City, he befriended Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, the mutually influential foundation of what became the countercultural movement of the Beat Generation, while becoming involved in the drug addiction that affected him for the rest of his life. Much of Burroughs's work is semi-autobiographical, primarily drawn from his experiences as a heroin addict, as he lived throughout Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, the South American Amazon and Tangier in Morocco. Finding success with his confessional first novel, Junkie (1953), Burroughs is perhaps best known for his third novel Naked Lunch (1959), a work wrought with controversy that underwent a court case under the sodomy laws. With Brion Gysin, he also popularized the literary cut-up technique in works such as The Nova Trilogy (1961–64). In 1983, Burroughs was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1984 was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France. Jack Kerouac called Burroughs the "greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift," a reputation he owes to his "lifelong subversion"[1] of the moral, political and economic systems of modern American society, articulated in often darkly humorous sardonicism. J. G. Ballard considered Burroughs to be "the most important writer to emerge since the Second World War," while Norman Mailer declared him "the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by genius." Burroughs had one child in 1947, William Seward Burroughs III, with his second wife Joan Vollmer, who died in 1951 in Mexico City after Burroughs accidentally shot her in the head while drunk, an event that deeply permeated all of his writings. Burroughs died at his home in Lawrence, Kansas after suffering a heart attack in 1997. Description above from the Wikipedia article William S. Burroughs, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

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Feb 5, 1914 In St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Towers Open Fire 1963-01-01
Latest Project:
Movie Fix: The Ministry Movie 2011-07-21
Known For
Poster of Wanderlust
Poster of Bloodhounds of Broadway
Poster of Drugstore Cowboy
Poster of Energy and How to Get It
Movie Fix: The Ministry Movie Himself 2011-07-21
Movie William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Himself 2010-11-05
Movie FLicKeR Himself 2009-07-14
Movie Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset and Grove Press Himself 2008-09-26
Movie Wanderlust Tom the Priest 2006-07-12
Movie Ghost at No. 9 2005-01-11
Movie Condo Painting 2000-03-17
Movie Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles Himself 1999-04-01
Movie Destroy All Rational Thought himself 1998-01-01
Movie Relics: Einstein's Brain Himself 1994-01-01
Movie Glitterbug Himself 1994-03-05
Movie Ah Pook Is Here. Narrator 1994-10-01
Movie The Junky's Christmas Narrator 1993-04-14
Movie Naked Making Lunch Himself 1992-12-29
Movie William S. Burroughs: Commissioner of Sewers Himself 1991-01-01
Movie Thanksgiving Prayer A Speaker 1991-01-01
Movie Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees James "Hive" Maker 1991-10-21
Movie Twister Man in Barn 1989-06-01
Movie Drugstore Cowboy Tom the Priest 1989-09-09
Movie Bloodhounds of Broadway Butler 1989-11-03
Movie Home of the Brave Himself 1986-04-27
Movie Ornette: Made in America Himself 1985-09-13
Movie Decoder Old Man 1984-02-19
Movie Pirate Tape 1983-01-01
Movie The Dream Machine 1983-01-01
Movie Burroughs: The Movie Himself 1983-10-08
Movie Shamans of the Blind Country Narrator 1981-04-11
Movie Chelsea Hotel 1981-01-03
Movie Energy and How to Get It 1981-08-10
Movie Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds Himself 1979-10-01
Movie Thot-Fal'N Himself 1978-06-27
Movie Underground and Emigrants 1976-10-25
Series Saturday Night Live Unknown 1975-10-11
Movie Bill and Tony Himself 1972-02-07
Movie Chappaqua Opium Jones 1967-11-04
Movie The Cut Ups 1966-01-01
Movie Towers Open Fire 1963-01-01
Movie William Buys a Parrot Himself 1963-10-16