Author, Motion Picture Screenwriter. He is best remembered for his World War II satirical novel "Catch-22" (1961) that became a bestseller and was adapted into a feature film by the same name in 1970. Born to Jewish parents, he developed a passion for writing as a teenager. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps shortly after the US entered World War II in December 1941. In 1944 he was sent to the European Theater of Operations as a bombardier with the 488th Bombardment Squadron, 340th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force and flew 60 combat missions in Italy on a B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft. Following the end of the war he studied English at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California and New York University in New York City, New York and in 1949 he was awarded a Master of Arts Degree from Columbia University in New York City. He spent the following year attending Oxford University in England on a Fulbright Scholarship and then taught English composition at Pennsylvania State University in University park, Pennsylvania for two years. After briefly working for Time Magazine, he obtained a job as a copywriter for an advertising agency. In 1953 he began working on "Catch-22" and it was finally completed and published eight years later. It initially received mixed reviews by the critics but eventually caught the attention of the baby-boomer crowd, who related to the book's anti-war theme. He later taught creative writing at City College of New York as well as Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In December 1981 he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome that left him temporarily paralyzed but was able to recover to the point of resuming his writing career. He died from a heart attack in his home at the age of 76. His other novels include "Something Happened" (1974), "Good As Gold" (1979), "God Knows" (1984), "Picture This" (1988), "Closing Time" (1994), and "Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man" (2000, published posthumously). He also penned the autobiographies "No Laughing Matter" (1986, with Speed Vogel) and "Now and Then" (1998) as well as contributing to the screenplays "Sex and the Single Girl" (1964) and "Dirty Dingus Magee" (1970). A collection of his short stories and other writings was compiled into the book "Catch as Catch Can" and published posthumously in 2003. "Catch-22" is ranked as Number 7 on the Modern Library Editor's List of Best 20th-Century Novels.
Bio by: William Bjornstad