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R.I.P. Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 6, 2012 at 11:57AM

Today, one of the greatest contributors to science fiction was lost to the stars. Legendary author Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age of 91.
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Ray Bradbury

Today, one of the greatest contributors to science fiction was lost to the stars. Legendary author Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age of 91.

It's impossible to imagine what the landscape of science fiction would be without the contributions of Bradbury, whose short stories and novels inspired a generation or two of authors, filmmakers and more. Born in 1920 in Illinois, Bradbury was a voracious reader, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs had a tremendous influence on him. After two life changing incidents -- seeing Lon Chaney in "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" and being told by carnival entertainer Mr. Electrico to "Live forever!" -- Bradbury decided to become an author, and wrote every day.

Bradbury initially started writing short stories for science fiction fanzines, but it would be the work that he banged out on a rented typewriter in UCLA's Powell Library that would change his life forever. His first novel "Fahrenheit 451" was published in 1953 and met with widespread acclaim. The dystopian book is considered one of the finest works of the genre of all time, and it has inspired countless adaptations for radio, stage and page (it was made into a graphic novel), but most notably, it was brought to the big screen in Francois Truffaut's 1966 film starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie.

And while adaptations of his work to both the big and small screen have been mixed, Hollywood has always seen the cinemtaic qualities in his work, and in the past few years his novels "From The Dust Returned" and "The Illustrated Man" have been optioned, and a remake of "Fahrenheit 451" has been kicking around for years. But fans probably best treasure his small screen effort as host of "The Ray Bradbury Theater," the series which found many of his short stories brought to life.

Bradbury is survived by his four daughters and eight grandchildren. Our thoughts are with his family, but we can think of no better tribute to the man who said "Libraries raised me" than to visit one near you, and take out one of his works you've always been meaning to read. [CNN

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