John Steinbeck


John Steinbeck Famous memorial

Salinas, Monterey County, California, USA
Death 20 Dec 1968 (aged 66)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Salinas, Monterey County, California, USA
Plot Block N-5
Memorial ID 1257 View Source

Nobel Prize in Literature and Pulitzer Prize Recipient. John Steinbeck, an American author of the 20th century, received worldwide notoriety after being awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. According to the Nobel Prize committee, he received the coveted award "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception." He impacted the world with his writings being translated into nearly 50 languages. Although he was a prolific writer who wrote 30 novels, a host of short stories, and anthologies, he was best-known for his 1939 novel "The Grapes of Wrath," which summed-up the bitterness of the American Great Depression, arousing empathy for the plight of migratory farmworkers, who traveled penniless from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California. His frequent topic was the plight of the misfits, homeless and the hopeless. In 1940 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for "The Grapes of Wrath." In 1941, using his marine biology knowledge, he co-authored "Sea of Cortez," a study of the fauna of the Gulf of Californian. During World War II, he was a newspaper war correspondent for the "New York Tribune". Born John Ernst Steinbeck Jr., the son of a feedstore owner, who was Monterey County's treasurer, his mother was a schoolteacher. He studied marine biology at Stanford University for six years but never graduated. During the summer while in college, he worked the fields with the migrant workers, learning their fate first hand. This was reflected in his early novels, which were about actual people he knew. With his first three books being unsuccessful, he first became widely-known in 1935 with "Tortilla Flat," a series of humorous stories about Mexican migrants. In 1942, "Tortilla Flat" was adapted to a film. Often, he wrote the screenplays for adaptations of his novels. Among the adaptations to film was his 1955 novel, "East of Eden," which had as lead actor James Dean. Dean was later nominated for an Academy Award for this performance, which he received posthumously. Though he is generally remembered as a native Californian, he had homes in Manhattan and on Long Island, living in New York half of his life. In 1968 he was diagnosed with arteriosclerosis, which required bypass heart surgery. He was often photographed with a cigarette in his mouth. He declined the option of surgery, remaining instead in his Manhattan apartment dying quietly with his wife lying beside him at age sixty-six. He was cremated with his ashes interred in his mother's plot. Actor Henry Fonda, who appeared in the 1940 film that was adapted from the novel "The Grapes of Wrath," read several of Steinbeck's favorite poems at the memorial service. He married three times and had two sons with his second wife. A Steinbeck Commemorative stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service in 1979. Thirty years after his death, the National Steinbeck Center, a museum and cultural center in downtown Salinas, opened to pay tribute to his life. In 1992, his 1937 novel "Of Mice and Men" was adapted to film, which was directed by Gary Sinise, who played a lead role. In 2019 an old storage locker full of unfinished manuscripts, letters from celebrities, decorative objects and a rare "warm-up" journal belonging to Steinbeck was placed on auction. The pencil-written journal had worn pages with holes from cigarette burns.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1257
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Steinbeck (27 Feb 1902–20 Dec 1968), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1257, citing Garden of Memories, Salinas, Monterey County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .