William Saroyan

William Saroyan

Birth
Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Death 18 May 1981 (aged 72)
Fresno, Fresno County, California, USA
Burial Yerevan, K'aghak' Yerevan, Armenia
Plot * Half of cremated remains
Memorial ID 27538340 · View Source
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Author. Born in Fresno, California, he was the fourth child of Armenian immigrants from Bitlis. His father was a preacher and poet who died when Saroyan was 3. The next year young William was placed in an orphanage with his siblings because their mother was unable to provide for them; he remained there five years before being reunited with his mother. A high school drop out at 15, he educated himself at the Fresno Public Library. At the age of eighteen he left home and after a difficult start in New York City, became one of America's most prolific writers. In 1933 his first short stories were published in the Armenian journal 'Hairenik'. His short story collection "My Name is Aram" became an international bestseller. For the next 15 years Saroyan's his work was found everywhere- not only short stories but novels, on Broadway, and records, including the hit song by Rosemary Clooney, "Come On-a My House". His play "The Time of Your Life" won him the Pulitzer Prize, which he rejected on the grounds commerce should not judge the arts. It was later adapted into a movie starring James Cagney. Saroyan continued to write prolifically his whole life though his later works did not garner the same fame. Saroyan spent many of these later years living in Paris before returning to Fresno where he died only about a mile from where he was born. In his last days he commented "Everybody has to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?" On the tenth anniversary of his death Saroyan was the first and only individual to be jointly honored by a Commemorative Postal Stamp issued by both the U.S. and USSR. In 2008 his hometown of Fresno held a year-long celebration of his life to mark his birth centenary. Saroyan was cremated and his ashes were divided, with half enshrined at the Komitas Pantheon of the Greats in Yerevan, Soviet Armenia, while the other half were interred under a black granite headstone twenty years after his death in Ararat Cemetery, Fresno. It is the burial place of the Armenian immigrants who were featured in his short stories and where he used to walk in the rain, conversing with the stones.

Bio by: Paul S.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Paul S.
  • Added: 13 Jun 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 27538340
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Saroyan (31 Aug 1908–18 May 1981), Find a Grave Memorial no. 27538340, citing Komitas Pantheon, Yerevan, K'aghak' Yerevan, Armenia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .