Thursday, December 8, 2016

Birthday: "Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?"

James Grover Thurber (1894-1961)
Author, cartoonist


He wrote of his origins,

James Thurber was born on a night of wild portent and high wind in the year 1894, at 147 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, Ohio. The house, which is still standing, bears no tablet or plaque of any description, and is never pointed out to visitors. Once Thurber’s mother, walking past the place with an old lady from Fostoria, Ohio, said to her, ‘My son James was born in that house,’ to which the old lady, who was extremely deaf, replied, ‘Why, on the Thursday morning train, unless my sister is worse.’ Mrs. Thurber let it go at that.

He worked for a series of newspapers, including working for The International Herald Tribune, before signing on with a struggling little magazine, The New Yorker, in 1927.

He worked there until he died. He contributed six covers, and innumerable short pieces, stories, fables, fairy tales, drawings and a series on radio soap operas.

thurber touche.jpg

He wrote nineteen books, another five for kids, and saw many of his stories made into movies and plays. Fifty years after his death, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty returned to movie screens in a major Hollywood production that earned $188 million worldwide.

He played himself on Broadway for 88 nights in The Thurber Carnival. The Thurber Prize for American Humor celebrates his life. As do we, on the day he was born in 1894.

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