Stephen King

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Stephen King
King in 2007
King in 2007
BornStephen Edwin King
(1947-09-21) September 21, 1947 (age 76)
Portland, Maine, U.S.
Pen name
Alma materUniversity of Maine (BA)
(m. 1971)
Children3, including Joe and Owen
Website Edit this at Wikidata

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels. Described as the "King of Horror",[2] his books have sold more than 350 million copies as of 2006,[3] and many have been adapted into films, television series, miniseries, and comic books. King has published over 65 novels/novellas, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books.[4] He has also written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections.[5][6]

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.[7] He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire bibliography, such as the 2004 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and the 2007 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.[8] In 2015, he was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature.[9]

Early life

King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. His father, Donald Edwin King, a traveling vacuum salesman after returning from World War II,[10] was born in Indiana with the surname Pollock, changing it to King as an adult.[11][12] King's mother was Nellie Ruth King (née Pillsbury).[13] His parents were married in Scarborough, Maine, on July 23, 1939.[14] Shortly afterwards, they lived with Donald's family in Chicago before moving to Croton-on-Hudson, New York.[15] King's parents returned to Maine towards the end of World War II, living in a modest house in Scarborough. King is of Scots-Irish descent.[16]

When King was two, his father left the family. His mother raised him and his older brother David by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. They moved from Scarborough and depended on relatives in Chicago, Illinois; Croton-on-Hudson; West De Pere, Wisconsin; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Malden, Massachusetts; and Stratford, Connecticut.[17] When King was 11, his family moved to Durham, Maine, where his mother cared for her parents until their deaths. She then became a caregiver in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged.[1] King was raised Methodist,[18][19] but lost his belief in organized religion while in high school. While no longer religious, he says he chooses to believe in the existence of God.[20]

As a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death. Some commentators have suggested that this event may have psychologically inspired some of King's darker works,[21][22] but King makes no mention of it in his memoir On Writing (2000).

King says he started writing when he was "about six or seven, just copying panels out of comic books and then making up my own stories... Film was also a major influence. I loved the movies from the start. So when I started to write, I had a tendency to write in images because that was all I knew at the time."[23] King told Terry Gross, "I've been queried a lot about where I get my ideas or how I got interested in this stuff. And at some point, a lot of interviewers just turn into Dr. Freud and put me on the couch and say, what was your childhood like? And I say various things, and I confabulate a little bit and kind of dance around the question as best as I can, but bottom line - my childhood was pretty ordinary, except from a very early age, I wanted to be scared. I just did."[24] He cites Tales From the Crypt and other horror comics as an early influence.

King was a voracious reader in his youth: "I read everything from Nancy Drew to Psycho. My favorite was The Shrinking Man, by Richard Matheson — I was 8 when I found that."[25] He compared his uncle's dowsing for water to the sudden realization of what he wanted to do for a living. That inspiration occurred while browsing through an attic with his elder brother, where he discovered a box of his father's books: "The box I found that day was a treasure trove of old Avon paperbacks... The pick of the litter, however, was an H. P. Lovecraft collection from 1947 called The Lurking Fear and Other Stories... I was on my way. Lovecraft—courtesy of my father—opened the way for me."[26]

King remembers asking a bookmobile driver, "Do you have any stories about how kids really are?" She gave him William Golding's Lord of the Flies. It proved formative, as he recalls in his introduction to the centenary edition of the novel: "It was, so far as I can remember, the first book with hands—strong ones that reached out of the pages and seized me by the throat. It said to me, 'This is not just entertainment; it's life or death.'... To me, Lord of the Flies has always represented what novels are for."[27] King named his town of Castle Rock after the mountain fort in Lord of the Flies, and used a quotation from it as an epigraph to Hearts in Atlantis.[28] King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon High School (Maine) in Lisbon Falls, Maine, in 1966.[29] He contributed to Dave's Rag, the newspaper his brother published with a mimeograph machine, and later began selling stories to his friends based on movies he had seen. (He was forced to return the profits when it was discovered by his teachers.) The first of his stories to be independently published was "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber", which was serialized over four issues (three published and one unpublished) of the fanzine Comics Review, in 1965. It was republished the following year in revised form, as "In a Half-World of Terror", in another fanzine, Stories of Suspense, edited by Marv Wolfman.[30] As a teen, King also won a Scholastic Art and Writing Award.[31] In high school, King worked as a sports reporter for Lisbon's Weekly Enterprise. His editor, John Gould, gave him some advice that stayed with him: "When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all of the things that are not the story." He also said "write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open."[32]

King entered the University of Maine in 1966. He held a variety of jobs to pay for his studies, working as a janitor, a gas-station attendant, and an industrial laundry worker. Singer writes that "King received solid encouragement from two professors, Edward Holmes and Burton Hatlen."[33] He participated in a writing workshop organized by Hatlen, where he fell in love with Tabitha Spruce.[34] He graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and his daughter Naomi Rachel was born that year.[35] Stephen and Tabitha wed in 1971.[29]



In 1971, King worked as a teacher at Hampden Academy.

King sold his first professional short story, "The Glass Floor", to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967.[1]

After graduating from the University of Maine, King earned a certificate to teach high school but, unable to find a teaching post immediately, he supplemented his laboring wage by selling short stories to men's magazines such as Cavalier. Many of these early stories were republished in the collection Night Shift. The short story "The Raft" was published in Adam, a men's magazine. After being arrested for stealing traffic cones (he was annoyed after one of the cones knocked his muffler loose), he was fined $250 for petty larceny but had no money to pay. However, a check then arrived for "The Raft" (then titled "The Float"), and King cashed it to pay the fine.[36] In 1971, King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels.[1] During 1966–1970, he wrote a draft of his dystopian novel The Long Walk[37] and the anti-war novel Sword in the Darkness,[38] but neither of the works was published at the time; only The Long Walk was released, in 1979.

1970s: Carrie to The Dead Zone

Portrait from the first edition of Carrie (1974)
Portrait from the first edition of The Shining (1977)
Portrait from the first edition of The Dead Zone (1979)

In 1973, King's novel Carrie was accepted by Doubleday. It was King's fourth novel, but the first to be published. He recalls that "Two unrelated ideas, adolescent cruelty and telekinesis, came together." He wrote it on his wife Tabitha's portable typewriter. It began as a short story intended for Cavalier magazine, but King tossed the first three pages in the trash. Tabitha recovered the pages and encouraged him to finish the story, saying she would help him with the female perspective; he followed her advice and expanded it into a novel.[39] She told him: "You've got something here. I really think you do."[40] He said: "I persisted because I was dry and had no better ideas… My considered opinion was that I had written the world's all-time loser."[41] Per The Guardian, Carrie "is the story of Carrie White, a high-school student with latent—and then, as the novel progresses, developing—telekinetic powers. It's brutal in places, affecting in others (Carrie's relationship with her almost hysterically religious mother being a particularly damaged one), and gory in even more."[42]

When Carrie was chosen for publication, King's phone was out of service. Doubleday editor William Thompson—who became King's close friend—sent a telegram to King's house in late March or early April 1973 which read: "Carrie Officially A Doubleday Book. $2,500 Advance Against Royalties. Congrats, Kid – The Future Lies Ahead, Bill."[43] King said he bought a new Ford Pinto with the advance.[44] On May 13, 1973, New American Library bought the paperback rights for $400,000, which—in accordance with King's contract with Doubleday—was split between them.[45][46]

King was teaching Dracula to high school students and wondered what would happen if Old World vampires came to a small New England town. This was the germ of Salem's Lot, which King described as "Peyton Place meets Dracula."[47][48] In a 1987 interview in The Highway Patrolman, he said it was his favorite of his books, "mostly because of what it says about small towns. They are kind of a dying organism right now... I have a special cold spot in my heart for it!"[49] (In 2015, King would call Lisey's Story his favorite of his novels.)[25]

After his mother's death, King and his family moved to Boulder, Colorado. He paid a visit to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park which provided the basis for The Shining, about an alcoholic writer and his family taking care of a hotel for the winter. King's family returned to Auburn, Maine in 1975, where he completed The Stand, an apocalyptic novel about a pandemic and its aftermath. King recalls that it was the novel that took him the longest to write, and that it was "also the one my longtime readers still seem to like the best (there's something a little depressing about such a united opinion that you did your best work twenty years ago, but we won't go into that just now, thanks.)"[50] In 1977, the family, with the addition of Owen Philip, his third and youngest child, traveled briefly to England. They returned to Maine that fall, where King began teaching creative writing at the University of Maine.[51] In 1979, he published The Dead Zone, about Johnny Smith, an ordinary man gifted with second sight. It was the first of his novels to take place in Castle Rock, Maine.

The 1980s: Danse Macabre to The Dark Half

Portrait from the first edition of Firestarter (1980)
Portrait from the first edition of Skeleton Crew (1985)
Portrait from the first edition of It (1986)
Portrait from the first edition of Misery (1987)
Portrait from the first edition of The Tommyknockers (1987)

In 1981, King published Danse Macabre, an overview of the horror genre based on courses he taught at the University of Maine.[52] The following year, King published Different Seasons, a collection of four novellas with a more serious dramatic bent than the horror fiction for which he had become famous.[53] Three of its four novellas were adapted as films: The Body as Stand by Me (1986);[54] Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption as The Shawshank Redemption (1994);[55] and Apt Pupil as the film of the same name (1998).[56] The novella The Breathing Method won the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction.[57] King recalls "I sent them Different Seasons and [King's editor] said, well, first of all you call it seasons, and you have just written three. I wrote another one, The Breathing Method, and that was the book. I got the best reviews in my life. And that was the first time that people thought, woah, this isn't really a horror thing."[58]

In 1983 he published Christine, billed as "A love triangle involving 17-year-old misfit Arnie Cunningham, his new girlfriend and a haunted 1958 Plymouth Fury."[59] Later that year, he published Pet Sematary, which he had written in the late 1970s and which he initially found too disturbing to publish. Per The New Republic, "The book so horrified his wife and his friend Peter Straub that they advised him against publishing it. Only when King needed a novel to get out of a contract with his publisher did he resurrect it."[60] He wrote it when his family was living near a highway that "used up a lot of animals" as a neighbor put it. His daughter's cat was killed, and they buried it in a pet cemetery (spelled "sematary") built by the local children. King imagined a burial ground beyond it that could bring the dead back to life, albeit imperfectly. In 1985, King published Skeleton Crew, a book of short fiction including "The Reach" and The Mist. King recalls that "I would be asked, 'What happened in your childhood that makes you want to write those terrible things?' I couldn't think of any real answer to that. And I thought to myself, 'Why don't you write a final exam on horror, and put in all the monsters that everyone was afraid of as a kid? Put in Frankenstein, the werewolf, the vampire, the mummy, the giant creatures that ate up New York in the old B movies. Put 'em all in there."[61] These influences would coalesce into It, about a shapeshifting monster that takes the form of its victim's fears and haunts the town of Derry, Maine. He said he thought he was done writing about monsters, and wanted to "bring on all the monsters one last time…and call it It."[62] It won the August Derleth Award.[63]

In 1987, he published the fantasy The Eyes of the Dragon. James Smythe writes that "It's dedicated to Ben (son of Peter) Straub and Naomi King, his then-13-year-old daughter. King wrote it for her, to give her something of his to read."[64] That same year, he published Misery, about Paul Sheldon, a popular writer who is injured in a car wreck and held captive by Annie Wilkes, his self-described "number-one fan." King recalls that "Paul Sheldon turned out to be a good deal more resourceful than I initially thought, and his efforts to play Scheherazade and save his life gave me a chance to say some things about the redemptive power of writing I had long felt but never articulated."[65] It shared the inaugural Bram Stoker Award with Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon.[66] King says Misery was also influenced by his experiences with addiction: "Annie was my drug problem, and she was my number-one fan. God, she never wanted to leave."[23] Later in 1987 he published The Tommyknockers, "a forties-style science fiction tale" he says was influenced by his drug use.[67] After the book was published, King's wife staged an intervention, which he recalls as "a kind of This is Your Life in Hell."[67] Two years later, he published The Dark Half, about an author whose literary alter-ego takes on a life of his own.[68] In the author's note, King writes that "I am indebted to the late Richard Bachman."[69]


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, King published a handful of short novels—Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984)—under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. One explanation was that he wanted to test whether he could replicate his success again and to allay his fears that his popularity was an accident. An alternate explanation was that publishing standards at the time allowed only a single book a year. King picked up the surname from the Canadian hard rock band Bachman–Turner Overdrive, of which he is a fan.[70] Bachman's first name is a nod to Richard Stark, the pseudonym of Donald E Westlake.[71] The Bachman books are darker than King's usual fare; King called Bachman "Dark-toned, despairing...not a very nice guy." A Literary Guild member praised Thinner as "what Stephen King would write like if Stephen King could really write."[33]

Richard Bachman was exposed as King's pseudonym by a persistent Washington, D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, who noticed similarities between the works and later located publisher's records at the Library of Congress that named King as the author of one of Bachman's novels.[72] This led to a press release heralding Bachman's death from "cancer of the pseudonym, a rare form of schizonomia."[73] 1996, when Desperation was released, the companion novel The Regulators carried the "Bachman" byline.

In 2006, during a press conference in London, King declared that he had discovered another Bachman novel, titled Blaze. It was published on June 12, 2007. In fact, the original manuscript had been held at King's alma mater, the University of Maine in Orono, for many years and had been covered by numerous King experts. King rewrote the original 1973 manuscript for its publication.[74]

King has used other pseudonyms. The short story "The Fifth Quarter" was published under the pseudonym John Swithen (the name of a character in Carrie), by Cavalier in April 1972.[75] The story was reprinted in King's collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993 under his own name. In the introduction to the Bachman novel Blaze, King claims, with tongue-in-cheek, that "Bachman" was the person using the Swithen pseudonym.

The "children's book" Charlie the Choo-Choo: From the World of The Dark Tower was published in 2016 under the pseudonym Beryl Evans, who was portrayed by actress Allison Davies during a book signing at San Diego Comic-Con,[76] and illustrated by Ned Dameron. It is adapted from a fictional book central to the plot of King's previous novel The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands.[77]

The Dark Tower

In the late 1970s, King began what became a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, who pursues the "Man in Black" in an alternate-reality universe that is a cross between J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and the American Wild West as depicted by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone in their spaghetti Westerns. The first of these stories, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, was initially published in five installments by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Edward L. Ferman, from 1977 to 1981. The Gunslinger was continued as an eight-book epic series called The Dark Tower, whose books King wrote and published infrequently over four decades (1978-2012).[78]

The 1990s: Needful Things to Hearts in Atlantis

In 1991, King published Needful Things, his first book since achieving sobriety, billed as "The Last Castle Rock Story".[23] In 1992, he published Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne, two novels about women loosely linked by a solar eclipse.[79] The latter novel is narrated by the title character in an unbroken monologue; Mark Singer described it as "a morally riveting confession from the earthy mouth of a sixty-six-year-old Maine coastal-island native with a granite-hard life but not a grain of self-pity."[33] King said he based the character of Claiborne on his mother, and dedicated the novel to her.[80] In 1994, King published the short story "The Man in the Black Suit" in The New Yorker.[81] The story won the O. Henry Award in 1996.[82]

In 1996, King published The Green Mile, a serial novel about a death row inmate, John Coffey. He recalls that "I wasn't sure, right up to the end of the book, if [he] would live or die. I wanted him to live, because I liked and pitied him."[83] In 1998, King published of Bag of Bones, his first book with Scribner. The book was well-received, with The Denver Post calling it "the finest he's written."[84] Charles de Lint wrote that it showed King's maturation as a writer: "He hasn't forsaken the spookiness and scares that have made him a brand name, but he uses them more judiciously now... The present-day King has far more insight into the human condition than did his younger self, and better yet, all the skills required to share it with us."[85] Bag of Bones won the August Derleth Award and the Bram Stoker Award.[86][87] In 1999, King published The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, about nine-year-old Trisha McFarland, who gets lost on the Appalachian Trail and takes solace in listening to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games. King said he wanted to write "a kind of fairy-tale, 'Hansel and Gretel' without Hansel.'"[88] Later that year, he published Hearts in Atlantis, a book of linked novellas and short stories about coming of age in the 1960s. In an author's note, King writes that while the places in the book are fictionalized, "Although it is difficult to believe, the sixties are not fictional; they actually happened."[89]

In 1999, King was hospitalized after being hit by a van. Reflecting on the incident, King wrote "it occurs to me that I have nearly been killed by a character out of one of my own novels. It's almost funny." He said his nurses were "told in no uncertain terms, don't make any Misery jokes."[90]

The 2000s: On Writing to Under the Dome

Stephen King at the Harvard Book Store, June 6, 2005

In 2000, King published On Writing, a mix of memoir and style manual which The Wall Street Journal called "a one-of-a-kind classic."[91] Later that year he began publishing a serialized horror novel, The Plant, in online installments.[92] At first the public assumed that King had abandoned the project because sales were unsuccessful, but King later stated that he had simply run out of stories.[93] The unfinished epistolary novel is still available from King's official site, now free. Also in 2000, he wrote a digital novella, Riding the Bullet, and saying he foresaw e-books becoming 50% of the market "probably by 2013 and maybe by 2012". However, he also stated: "Here's the thing—people tire of the new toys quickly."[94]

King wrote the first draft of the 2001 novel Dreamcatcher with a notebook and a Waterman fountain pen, which he called "the world's finest word processor".[95] In 2002, he published From a Buick 8, a return to the territory of Christine.[96]

In 2005, King published the mystery The Colorado Kid for the Hard Case Crime imprint.[97]

In 2006, King published an apocalyptic novel, Cell. The book features a sudden force in which every cell phone user turns into a mindless killer. King noted in the book's introduction that he does not use cell phones.[98] That same year, he published Lisey's Story, which he calls his favorite of his novels, because "I've always felt that marriage creates its own secret world, and only in a long marriage can two people at least approach real knowledge about each other. I wanted to write about that, and felt that I actually got close to what I really wanted to say."[25] Lisey's Story won the Bram Stoker Award.[99] King dedicated the novel to his wife.[100]

In 2008, King published Duma Key, his first novel set in Florida, which won the Bram Stoker Award.[101] He also published the collection Just After Sunset, featuring 13 short pieces, including the novella N. Starting July 28, 2008, N. was released as a serialized animated series to lead up to the release of Just After Sunset.[102] In September 2009 it was announced he would serve as a writer for Fangoria.[103]

In 2009, King published Ur and Throttle, a novella co-written with his son Joe Hill. King's novel Under the Dome was published on November 10 of that year, and debuted at No. 1 in The New York Times Bestseller List.[104] Janet Maslin said "Hard as this thing is to hoist, it's even harder to put down."[105]

2010s to present

In 2010, King published Full Dark, No Stars, a collection of four novellas. The novella 1922 was made into a film. In April of that year, King published Blockade Billy.

In 2011, King published 11/22/63, about a time portal leading to 1958, and an English teacher who travels through it to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. It was given a rave review by filmmaker Errol Morris, who called it "one of the best time travel stories since H. G. Wells."[106] It was nominated for the 2012 World Fantasy Award Best Novel.[107] The eighth Dark Tower volume, The Wind Through the Keyhole, was published in 2012.[108] In 2013, King published Joyland, his second book for the Hard Case Crime imprint.[109]

During his Chancellor's Speaker Series talk at University of Massachusetts Lowell on December 7, 2012, King indicated that he was writing a crime novel about a retired policeman being taunted by a murderer, with the working title Mr. Mercedes.[110] In an interview with Parade, published on May 26, 2013, King confirmed that the novel was "more or less" completed[111] he published it in June 2014. Later, on June 20, 2013, while doing a video chat with fans as part of promoting the upcoming Under the Dome TV series, King mentioned he was halfway through writing his next novel, Revival,[112] which was released November 11, 2014.[113]

King announced in June 2014 that Mr. Mercedes is part of a trilogy; the second book, Finders Keepers, was released on June 2, 2015. On April 22, 2015, it was revealed that King was working on the third book of the trilogy, End of Watch, which was ultimately released on June 7, 2016.[114][115]

During a tour to promote End of Watch, King revealed that he had collaborated on a novel, set in a women's prison in West Virginia, with his son Owen King, titled Sleeping Beauties.[116]

In 2018, he released the novel The Outsider, which featured the character of Holly Gibney, and the novella Elevation. In 2019, he released the novel The Institute. In 2020, King released If It Bleeds, a collection of four previously unpublished novellas. In 2022, King released the novel Fairy Tale. A novel about Holly Gibney, Holly, was released in September 2023.[117][118]



King has written two novels with horror novelist Peter Straub: The Talisman (1984) and a sequel, Black House (2001).

King produced an artist's book with designer Barbara Kruger, My Pretty Pony (1989), published in a limited edition of 250 by the Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Alfred A. Knopf released it in a general trade edition.[119]

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red (2001) was a paperback tie-in for the King-penned miniseries Rose Red (2002). Published under anonymous authorship, the book was written by Ridley Pearson. The novel is written in the form of a diary by Ellen Rimbauer, and annotated by the fictional professor of paranormal activity, Joyce Reardon. The novel also presents a fictional afterword by Ellen Rimbauer's grandson, Steven. Intended to be a promotional item rather than a stand-alone work, its popularity spawned a 2003 prequel television miniseries to Rose Red, titled The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer. This spin-off is a rare occasion of another author being granted permission to write commercial work using characters and story elements invented by King. The novel tie-in idea was repeated on Stephen King's next project, the miniseries Kingdom Hospital. Richard Dooling, King's collaborator on Kingdom Hospital and writer of several episodes in the miniseries, published a fictional diary, The Journals of Eleanor Druse, in 2004. Eleanor Druse is a key character in Kingdom Hospital, much as Dr. Joyce Readon and Ellen Rimbauer are key characters in Rose Red.[citation needed]

Throttle (2009), a novella written in collaboration with his son Joe Hill, appears in the anthology He Is Legend: Celebrating Richard Matheson.[120] Their second novella collaboration, In the Tall Grass (2012), was published in two parts in Esquire.[121][122] It was later released in e-book and audiobook formats, the latter read by Stephen Lang.[123]

King and his son Owen King wrote the novel Sleeping Beauties, released in 2017, that is set in a women's prison.[124]

King and Richard Chizmar collaborated to write Gwendy's Button Box (2017), a horror novella taking place in King's fictional town of Castle Rock.[125] A sequel titled Gwendy's Magic Feather (2019) was written solely by Chizmar.[126] In November 2020, Chizmar announced that he and King were writing a third installment in the series titled Gwendy's Final Task, this time as a full-length novel, to be released in February 2022.[127][128][129]


In 1988, the band Blue Öyster Cult recorded an updated version of its 1974 song "Astronomy". The single released for radio play featured a narrative intro spoken by King.[130][131] The Blue Öyster Cult song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" was also used in the King TV series The Stand.[132]

King collaborated with Michael Jackson to create Ghosts (1996), a 40-minute musical video.[133] King states he was motivated to collaborate as he is "always interested in trying something new, and for (him), writing a minimusical would be new".[134] In 2005, King featured with a small spoken word part during the cover version of Everlong (by Foo Fighters) in Bronson Arroyo's album Covering the Bases, at the time, Arroyo was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, of whom King is a longtime fan.[135] In 2012, King collaborated with musician Shooter Jennings and his band Hierophant, providing the narration for their album, Black Ribbons.[136] King played guitar for the rock band Rock Bottom Remainders, several of whose members are authors. Other members include Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Sam Barry, and Greg Iles. King and the other band members collaborated to release an e-book called Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All (2013).[137][138] King wrote a musical entitled Ghost Brothers of Darkland County (2012) with John Mellencamp.[139]


In 1985, King wrote his first work for the comic book medium, writing a few pages of the benefit X-Men comic book Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men.[140] The book, whose profits were donated to famine relief in Africa, was written by a number of different authors in the comic book field, such as Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, and Alan Moore, as well as authors not primarily associated with comics, such as Harlan Ellison.[141] He wrote the introduction to Batman No. 400, an anniversary issue where he expressed his preference for the character over Superman.[142] In 2010, DC Comics premiered American Vampire, a monthly comic book series written by King with short-story writer Scott Snyder, and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, which represents King's first original comics work.[143] King wrote the background history of the very first American vampire, Skinner Sweet, in the first five-issues story arc. Scott Snyder wrote the story of Pearl.[144]

Style, themes and influences


Stephen King in 2011

King recalls that "When, during the course of an interview for The New Yorker, I told the interviewer (Mark Singer) that I believed stories are found things, like fossils in the ground, he said that he didn't believe me. I replied that that was fine, as long as he believed that I believe it. And I do. Stories aren't souvenir tee-shirts or GameBoys. Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer's job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small, a seashell. Sometimes it's enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all those gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand-page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same."[145]

When asked why he writes, King responds: "The answer to that is fairly simple—there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do."[146] King often starts with a "what-if" scenario, such as what would happen if an alcoholic writer was stranded with his family in a haunted hotel (The Shining), or if one could see the outcome of future events (The Dead Zone), or if one could travel in time to alter the course of history (11/22/63).[147] He often places classic horror themes or scenarios in a modern context. He recalls that while writing 'Salem's Lot, "I decided I wanted to try to use the book partially as a form of literary homage (as Peter Straub had done in Ghost Story, working in the tradition of such 'classical' ghost story writers as Henry James, M. R. James, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.) So my novel bears an intentional similarity to Bram Stoker's Dracula, and after a while it began to seem I was playing an interesting—to me, at least—game of literary racquet-ball: 'Salem's Lot itself was the ball and Dracula was the wall I kept hitting it against, watching to see how and where it could bounce, so I could hit it again. As a matter of fact, it took some pretty interesting bounces, and I ascribe this mostly to the fact that, while my ball existed in the twentieth century, the wall was very much a product of the nineteenth."[148] Douglas E. Winter describes Pet Sematary as "a conscious retelling of W.W. Jacobs' 'The Monkey's Paw.'"[149] Similarly, King's Revival is a modern riff on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.[150]

Joyce Carol Oates called King "both a storyteller and an inventor of startling images and metaphors, which linger long in the memory."[151] An example of King's imagery is seen in The Body when the narrator recalls a childhood clubhouse with a tin roof and rusty screen door: "No matter what time of day you looked out that screen door, it looked like sunset... When it rained, being inside the club was like being inside a Jamaican steel drum."[152] In his memoir On Writing, King writes "The use of simile and other figurative language is one of the chief delights of fiction—reading it and writing it, as well. When it's on target, a simile delights us in much the same way meeting an old friend in a crowd of strangers does. By comparing two seemingly unrelated objects—a restaurant bar and a cave, a mirror and a mirage—we are sometimes able to see an old thing in a new and vivid way. Even if the result is mere clarity instead of beauty, I think writer and reader are participating together in a kind of miracle. Maybe that's drawing it a little strong, but yeah—it's what I believe."[153]


When asked if fear was his main subject, King said "I’d say that what I do is like a crack in the mirror. If you go back over the books from Carrie on up, what you see is an observation of ordinary middle-class American life as it’s lived at the time that particular book was written. In every life you get to a point where you have to deal with something that's inexplicable to you, whether it's the doctor saying you have cancer or a prank phone call. So whether you talk about ghosts or vampires or Nazi war criminals living down the block, we're still talking about the same thing, which is an intrusion of the extraordinary into ordinary life and how we deal with it. What that shows about our character and our interactions with others and the society we live in interests me a lot more than monsters and vampires and ghouls and ghosts."[23]

Joyce Carol Oates said that "Stephen King’s characteristic subject is small-town American life, often set in fictitious Derry, Maine; tales of family life, marital life, the lives of children banded together by age, circumstance, and urgency, where parents prove oblivious or helpless. The human heart in conflict with itself—in the guise of the malevolent Other. The 'gothic' imagination magnifies the vicissitudes of 'real life' in order to bring it into a sharper and clearer focus."[154] King's The Body is about coming of age, a theme he'd return to several times, for example in Joyland.[155]

King often uses authors as characters, such as Ben Mears in 'Salem's Lot, Jack Torrance in The Shining, adult Bill Denbrough in It, and Mike Noonan in Bag of Bones. He has extended this to breaking the fourth wall by including himself as a character in the three novels of The Dark Tower series released in 2003 and 2004. George Stade writes that Misery "is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his audience, which holds him prisoner and dictates what he writes, on pain of death" while The Dark Half "is a parable in chiller form of the popular writer's relation to his creative genius, the vampire within him, the part of him that only awakes to raise Cain when he writes."[156]


In On Writing, King emphasizes the importance of good description, which "begins with clear seeing and ends with clear writing, the kind of writing that employs fresh images and simple vocabulary. I began learning my lessons in this regard by reading Chandler, Hammett, and Ross Macdonald; I gained perhaps even more respect for the power of compact, descriptive language from reading T. S. Eliot (those ragged claws scuttling across the ocean floor; those coffee spoons), and William Carlos Williams (white chickens, red wheelbarrow, the plums that were in the ice box, so sweet and so cold)."[157]

King has called Richard Matheson "the author who influenced me most as a writer".[158] Other acknowledged influences include Ray Bradbury,[159] Jack Finney,[160] William Golding,[27] Shirley Jackson,[161] Joseph Payne Brennan,[162] Elmore Leonard,[163] John D. MacDonald,[164] Don Robertson[165] and Thomas Williams.[166] The Shining is steeped in Gothic influences and directly alludes to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death".[167] Bag of Bones alludes to a twentieth century Gothic novel, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.[84]

In J. Peder Zane's The Top Ten: Authors Pick Their Favorite Books, King chose The Golden Argosy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Satanic Verses, McTeague, Lord of the Flies, Bleak House, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Raj Quartet, Light in August and Blood Meridian. He provided an appreciation for The Golden Argosy, a collection of short stories featuring Cather, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald and others. He recalls that "I first found The Golden Argosy in a Lisbon Falls (Maine) bargain barn called the Jolly White Elephant, where it was on offer for $2.25. At that time I only had four dollars, and spending over half of it on one book, even a hardcover, was a tough decision. I've never regretted it." He calls it "an amazing resource for readers and writers, a treasury in every sense of the word... The Golden Argosy taught me more about good writing than all the writing classes I've ever taken. It was the best $2.25 I ever spent."[168] In 2022, he provided another list of ten favorite books; Lord of the Flies, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Blood Meridian remained, and he added Ship of Fools, The Orphan Master's Son, Invisible Man, Watership Down, The Hair of Harold Roux, American Pastoral and The Lord of the Rings. He added, "Although Anthony Powell's novels should probably be on here, especially the sublimely titled Casanova's Chinese Restaurant and Books Do Furnish a Room. And Paul Scott's Raj Quartet. And at least six novels by Patricia Highsmith. And what about Patrick O'Brian? See how hard this is to do?"[169]

Reception and influence

Critical reception

Science fiction editors John Clute and Peter Nicholls[170] offer a largely favorable appraisal of King, noting his "pungent prose, sharp ear for dialogue, disarmingly laid-back, frank style, along with his passionately fierce denunciation of human stupidity and cruelty (especially to children) [all of which rank] him among the more distinguished 'popular' writers."

In his book The Philosophy of Horror (1990), Noël Carroll discusses King's work as an exemplar of modern horror fiction. Analyzing both the narrative structure of King's fiction and King's non-fiction ruminations on the art and craft of writing, Carroll writes that for King, "the horror story is always a contest between the normal and the abnormal such that the normal is reinstated and, therefore, affirmed."[171]

In his analysis of post–World War II horror fiction, The Modern Weird Tale (2001), critic S. T. Joshi devotes a chapter to King's work. Joshi argues that King's best-known works are his worst, describing them as mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings. Despite these criticisms, Joshi argues that since Gerald's Game (1992), King has been tempering the worst of his writing faults, producing books that are leaner, more believable and generally better written.[172]

In his short story collection A Century of Great Suspense Stories, editor Jeffery Deaver noted that King "singlehandedly made popular fiction grow up. While there were many good best-selling writers before him, King, more than anybody since John D. MacDonald, brought reality to genre novels. He has often remarked that 'Salem's Lot was "Peyton Place meets Dracula. And so it was. The rich characterization, the careful and caring social eye, the interplay of story line and character development announced that writers could take worn themes such as vampirism and make them fresh again. Before King, many popular writers found their efforts to make their books serious blue-penciled by their editors. 'Stuff like that gets in the way of the story,' they were told. Well, it's stuff like that that has made King so popular, and helped free the popular name from the shackles of simple genre writing. He is a master of masters."[47]

In 2003, King was honored by the National Book Awards with a lifetime achievement award, the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Some in the literary community expressed disapproval of the award: Richard E. Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature" and critic Harold Bloom denounced the choice:

The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.[173]

Orson Scott Card responded:

Let me assure you that King's work most definitely is literature, because it was written to be published and is read with admiration. What Snyder really means is that it is not the literature preferred by the academic-literary elite.[174]

In his review of Secret Window, Roger Ebert wrote that "A lot people were outraged when he was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer couldn't be taken seriously. But after finding that his book On Writing has more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, I have gotten over my own snobbery.

King has, after all, been responsible for the movies The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Dead Zone, Misery, Apt Pupil, Christine, Hearts in Atlantis, Stand By Me and Carrie... And we must not be ungrateful for Silver Bullet, which I awarded three stars because it was 'either the worst movie made from a Stephen King story, or the funniest', and you know which side of that I'm gonna come down on."[175]

In 2008, On Writing was ranked 21st on Entertainment Weekly's list of "The New Classics: The 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008".[176]

Reviewing Bag of Bones, Daniel Mendelsohn wrote that "Stephen King is so widely accepted as America's master of paranormal terrors that you can forget his real genius is for the everyday... This is a book about reanimation: the ghosts', of course, but also Mike's, his desire to re-embrace love and work after a long bereavement that King depicts with an eye for the kind of small but moving details that don't typically distinguish blockbuster horror novels."[177]

King's 11/22/63 was named one of the five best fiction books of the year in The New York Times: "His new novel imagines a time portal in a Maine diner that lets an English teacher go back to 1958 in an effort to stop Lee Harvey Oswald and — rewardingly for readers — also allows King to reflect on questions of memory, fate and free will as he richly evokes midcentury America. The past guards its secrets, this novel reminds us, and the horror behind the quotidian is time itself."[178]

Appraisal by other authors

Introducing King at Princeton, Joyce Carol Oates called King "a brilliantly rooted, psychologically 'realistic' writer, for whom the American scene has been a continuous source of inspiration, and American popular culture a vast cornucopia of possibilities."[154] Oates praises "the elegiac, poetic realism" of King's "The Reach", which she included in the second edition of The Oxford Book of American Short Stories.[179]

Peter Straub favorably compared King to Charles Dickens: "Both are novelists of vast popularity and enormous bibliographies, both are beloved writers with a pronounced taste for the morbid and grotesque, both display a deep interest in the underclass.”[180] Straub included King's story "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French" in the Library of America anthology American Fantastic Tales.[181]

David Foster Wallace assigned Carrie and The Stand while teaching at Illinois State University. Wallace said of King: “He’s one of the first people to talk about real Americans and how they live, to capture real American dialogue in all its, like, foulmouthed grandeur... He has a deadly ear for the way people speak, and for the nasty little domestic shit they pull on each other. Students come to me and a lot of them have been led to believe that there’s good stuff and bad stuff, literary books and popular books, stuff that’s redemptive and commercial shit—with a sharp line drawn between the two categories. It’s good to show them that there’s a certain amount of blurring. Surface-wise, King’s work is a bit televisual, but there’s really a lot going on.”[33]


In an interview, Sherman Alexie recalls the influence of "Stephen King, who was always writing about underdogs, and bullied kids, and kids fighting back against overwhelming, often supernatural forces... The world aligned against them. As an Indian boy growing up on a reservation, I always identified with his protagonists. Stephen King, fighting the monsters."[182]

Lauren Groff says that "I love Stephen King and I owe him more than I could ever express... I love his wild imagination and his vivid scenes, many of which populate my nightmares even decades after I last read the books they're in. But the greatest thing I gleaned most from reading Stephen King is his big-hearted glee, the way he treats writing with gratitude, the way he sees his job not as the source of anguish and pain many writers self-pityingly see it as, but rather as something he's over-the-moon delighted to be lucky enough to do. If I could steal one thing from King, and keep it close to my heart forever, it is his sense of almost-holy glee when it comes to writing."[183]

The hero of Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao dreams of being "the Dominican Stephen King", and Diaz alludes to King's work several times throughout the novel.[184] Colson Whitehead recalls that "The first big book I read was Night Shift by Stephen King, you know, a huge book of short stories. And so for many years I just wanted to write horror fiction."[185] In a talk at Virginia Commonwealth University, Whitehead recalls that in college "I wanted to write the black Shining or the black Salem's Lot... Take any Stephen King title and put 'the black' in front of it. That's basically what I wanted to do."[186]

Political views and activism

King campaigning for Gary Hart for President in 1984

In 1984, King endorsed Gary Hart's presidential campaign.[187]

King at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, 2013

In April 2008, King spoke out against HB 1423, a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislature that would restrict or ban the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. King argued that such laws allow legislators to ignore the economic divide between the rich and poor and the easy availability of guns, which he believed were the actual causes of violence.[188]

During the 2008 presidential election, King endorsed Barack Obama.[189]

On March 8, 2011, King spoke at a political rally in Sarasota aimed against Governor Rick Scott (R-FL), voicing his opposition to the Tea Party movement.[190]

On April 30, 2012, King published an article in The Daily Beast calling for rich Americans, including himself, to pay more taxes, citing it as "a practical necessity and moral imperative that those who have received much should be obligated to pay ... in the same proportion".[191]

On January 25, 2013, King published an essay titled Guns via's Kindle single feature, which discusses the gun debate in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. King called for gun owners to support a ban on automatic and semi-automatic weapons, writing, "Autos and semi-autos are weapons of mass destruction...When lunatics want to make war on the unarmed and unprepared, these are the weapons they use."[192][193] The essay became the fifth-bestselling non-fiction title for the Kindle.[194]

In 2016, King was one of many writers who signed a letter condemning the candidacy of Donald Trump. It began: "Because, as writers, we are particularly aware of the many ways that language can be abused in the name of power" and concluded "Because the rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response; For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, as a matter of conscience, oppose, unequivocally, the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States."[195]

King criticized former Iowa Rep. Steve King, deeming him a racist and saying he was tired of being confused with him.[196]

In June 2018, King called for the release of the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed in Russia.[197]

In the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, King endorsed Elizabeth Warren's campaign.[198] Warren eventually suspended her campaign, and King later endorsed Joe Biden's campaign in the 2020 general election.[199]

In 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, King expressed support for Ukraine. On his Twitter account, King posted a photo in an "I stand with Ukraine" t-shirt[200][201] and later tweeted that he refuses to cooperate with Russian publishers.[202][203]

In July 2022, Stephen King appeared in a video call with the Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus who played the role of Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the call Stephen King said "You can always find things about people to pull them down. Washington and Jefferson were slave owners — that doesn't mean they didn't do many good things to the United States of America. There are always people who have flaws, we are humans. On the whole, I think Bandera is a great man, and you're a great man, and Viva Ukraine!"[204] However, King later realized that he was pranked and apologized on Twitter, noting that he wasn't the only victim and "other victims who fell for these guys include J.K. Rowling, Prince Harry, and Justin Trudeau".[205]

King testified in an August 2022 in a case brought by the U.S. Justice Department to block a $2.2 billion merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster (two of the "Big Five" book publishers). The New York Times credited King's high-profile testimony, which was against his own publisher, with helping to convince presiding judge Florence Y. Pan with ultimately blocking the merger.[206]

Maine politics

King endorsed Shenna Bellows in the 2014 U.S. Senate election for the seat held by Republican Susan Collins.[207]

King publicly criticized Paul LePage during LePage's tenure as Governor of Maine, referring to him as one of The Three Stooges (with then-Florida Governor Rick Scott and then-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker being the other two).[190] He was critical of LePage for incorrectly suggesting in a 2015 radio address that King avoided paying Maine income taxes by living out of state for part of the year. The statement was later corrected by the governor's office, but no apology was issued. King said LePage was "full of the stuff that makes the grass grow green"[208] and demanded that LePage "man up and apologize".[209] LePage declined to apologize to King, stating, "I never said Stephen King did not pay income taxes. What I said was, Stephen King's not in Maine right now. That's what I said."[210]

The attention garnered by the LePage criticism led to efforts to encourage King to run for Governor of Maine in 2018.[211] King said he would not run or serve.[212] King sent a tweet on June 30, 2015, calling LePage "a terrible embarrassment to the state I live in and love. If he won't govern, he should resign." He later clarified that he was not calling on LePage to resign, but to "go to work or go back home".[213] On August 27, 2016, King called LePage "a bigot, a homophobe, and a racist".[214]


King has stated that he donates approximately $4 million per year "to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organisations that underwrite the arts."[191][215]

The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, chaired by King and his wife, ranks sixth among Maine charities in terms of average annual giving, with over $2.8 million in grants per year, according to The Grantsmanship Center.[216]

In November 2011, the STK Foundation donated $70,000 in matched funding via his radio station to help pay the heating bills for families in need in his hometown of Bangor, Maine, during the winter.[217]

In February 2021, King's Foundation donated $6,500 to help children from the Farwell Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine, to publish two novels on which they had been working over the course of several prior years, before being stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Maine.[218]

Personal life

King's home in Bangor

King married Tabitha Spruce on January 2, 1971.[219] She too is a novelist and philanthropic activist. They own and divide their time between three houses: one in Bangor, Maine, one in Lovell, Maine, and for the winter a waterfront mansion located off the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. King's home in Bangor has been described as an unofficial tourist attraction, and as of 2019, the couple plan to convert it into a facility housing his archives, as well as a writers' retreat.[220][221]

Portrait of Owen and Stephen from the first edition of Different Seasons (1982)

The Kings have three children—a daughter and two sons.[1] Their daughter Naomi is a Unitarian Universalist Church minister in Plantation, Florida, with her partner, Thandeka.[222] Both of the Kings' sons are authors: Owen King published his first collection of stories, We're All in This Together: A Novella and Stories, in 2005. Joseph Hillström King, who writes as Joe Hill, published his first collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts, in 2005.[223]

King wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey at a book signing in November 2004

King has a history of abusing alcohol and other drugs.[224][225] He wrote of his struggles with addiction in On Writing.[225] Soon after Carrie's release in 1974, King's mother died of uterine cancer; King has written of his severe drinking problem at this time, stating that he was drunk while delivering the eulogy at his mother's funeral.[225]: 69  King's substance addictions were so serious during the 1980s that, as he acknowledged in On Writing in 2000, he can barely remember writing Cujo.[225]: 73  Shortly after Cujo's publication, King's family and friends staged an intervention, dumping in front of him evidence of his addictions taken from his office, including beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, Robitussin, and mouthwash. As King related in On Writing, he then sought help, and became sober in the late 1980s.[225]: 72  The first novel he wrote after becoming sober was Needful Things.[226]

King told Bon Appétit magazine in 2013 that he married Tabitha "because of the fish that she cooked for me." He said his favorite foods are baked salmon and cheesecake.[227] A recipe from King, Lunchtime Gloop, is included in the 2020 cookbook Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook. The Rachael Ray magazine printed the recipe as made with "greasy hamburger" and canned spaghetti.[228][229]

King and his wife Tabitha own Zone Radio Corp, a radio station group consisting of WZON/620 AM,[230] WKIT/100.3 & WZLO/103.1.

In 1990, King published an essay about his son Owen's Little League team in The New Yorker.[231] King is a longtime fan of the Boston Red Sox. His nonfiction book Faithful published in 2004, co-written with his friend and fellow author (and Red Sox fan) Stewart O'Nan, chronicles the exchanges between King and O'Nan about the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox season that culminated with the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series, ending an 86-year championship drought.[232]

Car accident and aftermath

On June 19, 1999, at about 4:30 p.m., King was walking on the shoulder of Maine State Route 5, in Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Edwin Smith, distracted by an unrestrained dog moving in the back of his minivan, struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet (four meters) from the pavement of Route 5.[225]: 206  Early reports at the time from Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker claimed King was hit from behind, and some witnesses said the driver was not speeding, reckless, or drinking.[233] However, Smith was later arrested and charged with driving to endanger and aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of driving to endanger and was sentenced to six months in county jail (suspended) and had his driving license suspended for a year.[234] In his book On Writing, King states he was heading north, walking against the traffic. Shortly before the accident took place, a woman in a car, also northbound, passed King first followed by a light blue Dodge van. The van was looping from one side of the road to the other, and the woman told her passenger she hoped "that guy in the van doesn't hit him."[225]: 206 

King was conscious enough to give the deputy phone numbers to contact his family but was in considerable pain. He was transported to Northern Cumberland Hospital in Bridgton and then flown by air ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center (CMMC) in Lewiston. His injuries—a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip—kept him at CMMC until July 9. His leg bones were so shattered that doctors initially considered amputating his leg but stabilized the bones in the leg with an external fixator.[235] After five operations in 10 days and physical therapy, King resumed work on On Writing in July, though his hip was still shattered and he could sit for only about 40 minutes before the pain became unbearable.[225]: 216 

King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to prevent it from appearing on eBay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard, to King's disappointment, as he had fantasized about smashing it.[236][237]




  • 2000: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (read by Stephen King), Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-0-7435-0665-6.
  • 2004: Salem's Lot (introduction), Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-0-7435-3696-7.
  • 2005 (Audible: 2000): Bag of Bones (read by Stephen King). Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-0743551755.
  • 2008: Needful Things (read by Stephen King), Highbridge Audio. ISBN 978-1598877540.
  • 2012: The Wind Through The Keyhole – A Dark Tower Novel (read by Stephen King), Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-1-4423-4697-0.
  • 2016: Desperation (read by Stephen King), Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-1508218661.
  • 2018: Elevation (read by Stephen King), Simon & Schuster Audio. ISBN 978-1508260479.


Year Title Director Executive producer Writer Actor Notes
1981 Knightriders No No No Yes Role: Hoagie Man
1982 Creepshow No No Yes Yes Role: Jordy Verrill
1983 The Dead Zone No No Yes No
1985 Cat's Eye No No Yes No
1985 Silver Bullet No No Yes No
1986 Maximum Overdrive[253] Yes No Yes Yes Role: Man at Bank ATM
1987 Creepshow 2 No No No Yes Role: Truck Driver
1987 Tales from the Darkside No No Yes No 1 episode: "Sorry, Right Number"
1989 Pet Sematary No No Yes Yes Role: Minister
1991 Golden Years No Yes Yes Yes Miniseries, also created by King, role: Bus Driver
1992 Sleepwalkers No No Yes Yes Role: Cemetery Caretaker
1994 The Stand No Yes Yes Yes Miniseries, role: Teddy Weizak
1995 The Langoliers No No No Yes Miniseries, role: Tom Holby
1996 Thinner No No No Yes Role: Pharmacist
1997 The Shining No Yes Yes Yes Miniseries, role: Gage Creed
1998 The X-Files No No Yes No 1 episode: "Chinga"
1999 Storm of the Century No Yes Yes Yes Miniseries, role: Lawyer in Ad / Reporter on Broken TV
1999 Frasier No No No Yes 1 episode: "Mary Christmas", role: Brian
2000 The Simpsons No No No Yes 1 episode: "Insane Clown Poppy", role: Himself
2002 Rose Red No Yes Yes Yes Miniseries, role: Pizza Delivery Guy
2003 The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer No Yes No No TV film
2004 Kingdom Hospital[254] No Yes Yes Yes 9 episodes, also developed by King, role: Johnny B. Goode
2004 Riding the Bullet No Yes No No
2005 Fever Pitch No No No Yes Role: Stephen King
2005 Gotham Cafe No No No Yes Short film, role: Mr. Ring
2006 Desperation No Yes Yes No TV film
2007 Diary of the Dead No No No Yes Role: Newsreader (voice, uncredited)
2010 Sons of Anarchy[255] No No No Yes 1 episode: "Caregiver", role: Bachman
2012 Stuck in Love No No No Yes Role: Stephen King (voice)
2014 Under the Dome No Yes Yes Yes 1 episode: "Heads Will Roll", role: Diner Patron
2014 A Good Marriage No No Yes No
2016 11.22.63 No Yes No No
2016 Cell No No Yes No
2017 Mr. Mercedes No Yes No Yes Role: Diner Patron
2018 Castle Rock No Yes No No
2019 It Chapter Two[256] No No No Yes Role: Shopkeeper
2021 Lisey's Story No Yes Yes No Miniseries

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e King, Tabitha; DeFilippo, Marsha. "Biography". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  2. ^ K.S.C. (September 7, 2017). "Why Stephen King's novels still resonate". The Economist. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Morgan, Robert (November 22, 2006). "Stephen King". Newsnight. BBC. Archived from the original on September 18, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  4. ^ Breznican, Anthony (September 3, 2019)."Life Is Imitating Stephen King's Art, and That Scares Him" Archived September 3, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. New York Times. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Barone, Matt (November 8, 2011). "The 25 Best Stephen King Stories" Archived February 7, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. Complex. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Jackson, Dan (February 18, 2016). "A Beginner's Guide to Stephen King Books" Archived February 7, 2019, at the Wayback Machine. Thrillist. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters". National Book Foundation. 2003. Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "FORUMS du CLUB STEPHEN KING (CSK)". Forum Stephen King. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "President Obama to Award 2014 National Medals of Arts". NEA. National Endowment for the Arts. September 3, 2015. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Wright, William J. (October 13, 2020). "The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Stephen King". Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  11. ^ "In Search of our Fathers". Finding Your Roots. Season 2. Episode 1. September 23, 2014. PBS. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021.
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Further reading

External links