Author. A Cambridge graduate and one of the "University Wits", he was perhaps the first English writer to earn a living entirely from his pen. In 1587 he deserted his wife and newborn child to lead a dissolute life in London, supporting himself by writing plays and later turning to fiction. His 38 published works include the prose romances "Pandosto" (1588) and "Menaphon" (1589), the plays "Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay" (1589) and "James IV" (1591), and a series of sensational pamphlets describing criminal life in London. He died in extreme poverty, allegedly from an illness brought on by a banquet of pickled herrings and Rhenish wine. On his deathbed Greene wrote a letter to his abandoned wife begging her forgiveness, and asking her to settle his debts; and a "repentance" pamphlet, "Greene's Groatsworth of Wit" (1592), in which he made the first published reference to Shakespeare by calling him "an upstart crow". He was given a pauper's burial in the New Churchyard near Bedlam, a site that is now occupied by the Liverpool Street underground station.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards