Harlan Ellison Poster


Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (5) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (32) | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 27 May 1934Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Birth NameHarlan Jay Ellison
Height 5' 2½" (1.59 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Harlan Ellison was raised in Ohio by Serita Rosenthal Ellison and Louis Laverne Ellison. He has an older sister, Beverly. Mr. Ellison has been married five times. He lives in Sherman Oaks at "Ellison Wonderland". He has had the same address and phone number for twenty-six years. He is a non-smoker, non-drinker and has never used drugs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: C. Riddle

Spouse (5)

Susan Toth (1986 - present)
Lori Horowitz (1976 - 1977)
Loretta (Basham) Patrick (1966 - 1966)
Billie Joyce Sanders (1960 - 1963) (divorced)
Charlotte B. Stein (1956 - 1960) (divorced)

Trade Mark (2)

Outspoken abrasive personality
Science Fiction themes, usually involving Cyborgs and machines

Trivia (32)

He is famous for his hot temper and outspoken nature, which has led to more then his share of high-profile feuds. The most famous of them was with Star Trek (1966) creator Gene Roddenberry, who had Ellison's famous television script (Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever (1967)) heavily rewritten to fit with Roddenberry's more utopian ideas of the future. Roddenberry would not allow him to put his pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird" on the project. To add insult to injury, for the rest of his life Roddenberry took credit for having "saved" the story, which is consistently ranked as the best of the series by critics and fans and as one of TV's 100 greatest moments by "TV Guide" (July 1, 1995).
Cordwainer Bird means "one who makes shoes for birds".
Ellison's pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird" is reserved for works where he considers that the producers have so tampered with the integrity of his original story that he wants the whole world to know it. Hence, if you see something credited to "Cordwainer Bird", you know that Ellison is so angry at his treatment that he's going to force the producers to publicly acknowledge the fact (via the credits) that he considers them rather worse than fools. It is also a reference to the great science-fiction writer Cordwainer Smith. "Cordwainer Smith", in turn, was the pseudonym of Dr. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (1913-1966), a professor of Asiatic politics, expert on psychological warfare, and advisor to President Kennedy.
He won one of his many Hugo Awards and one of his four Writer's Guild awards for best teleplay for Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever (1967).
An outspoken gun control advocate, he is responsible for the removal of B-B gun ads from DC Comics. According to a convention transcript printed in The Comics Journal, on a Friday he made a phone call to DC publisher Jeanette Kahn, suggesting that such ads were inappropriate for children. She called him back before the weekend was out assuring him that there would never be another B-B gun ad in a DC comic. In the same transcript, when prompted by Marvel Comics executive Stan Lee (also an advocate of gun control), Ellison admits that growing up with these ads didn't do him any harm.
Graduated from Cleveland's East High School.
He used to be a spokesperson for Geo Metro automobiles, billed as a "noted futurist".
He was a conceptual consultant for the television show Babylon 5 (1994), helping out his friend, the show's creator, J. Michael Straczynski. His cameos on Babylon 5 (1994) include two episodes where his voice was used and a brief on-screen appearance as a "Psi Cop".
In his book "Stalking the Nightmare", he recounts an incident that led to his being fired from Walt Disney Productions on his first day of work. At lunch in the studio commissary, he jokingly told fellow writers that they should "do a Disney porn flick", and proceeded to act out parts in the voices of various Disney characters, unaware that animation head Roy Edward Disney and other studio chiefs were sitting nearby. Ellison claims that when he returned to his office, he found a termination letter on his desk, and his name on his parking space had been painted over.
Following a lawsuit, his name was added to the credits of the movie The Terminator (1984). He claimed that the time travel and indestructible robot components in the movie were ripped off by James Cameron and never credited to him. Cameron, in turn, denies having ever been influenced by Ellison's work. However, Cameron's producers said that if he would lose the lawsuit, he himself would be responsible for the financial losses, giving Cameron no other choice than to begrudgingly settle the case out of court.
Interviewers and fans ask questions about his work at the risk of being on the receiving end of a barrage of vicious insults regarding the impertinence of the question and the intelligence of the questioner.
Guest of Honor at PghLANGE science-fiction convention (Pittsburgh, 17-19 July 1970).
His novella, "A boy and his dog," won the 1969 Nebula Award.
Richard Dreyfuss based his character of Elliot Garfield in The Goodbye Girl (1977) on Ellison, a good friend of his.
In a magazine interview, he stated that the two fictional characters he closely identifies with are Zorro and Jiminy Cricket.
His father was a dentist.
When he was 20, he researched an inner-city gang by joining them for ten weeks. He published his account of having joined them ("the Gang"), along with his experience of being arrested and jailed for one day ("the Tombs"), as the book "Memos from Purgatory".
When asked by J. Michael Straczynski what role he wanted to play in the production of Babylon 5 (1994) Ellison replied, "I want to be the mad dog of continuity enforcement who bites people on the leg.".
Had his own name registered as a trademark in 2005.
When J. Michael Straczynski was a struggling young writer, he telephoned Harlan Ellison for advice. Ellison replied, "The reason your stories are being rejected is because you're writing crap. Stop writing crap!".
Prefers to be called a "fantasist" rather than a "Sci-Fi Writer".
While in the U.S. Army, his sergeant called him The Author because Ellison could usually be found behind a typewriter.
He has won 22 awards for writing, more than almost any other living writer.
Ellison was named Grand Master at the 2006 Nebula Awards ceremony in Tempe, Arizona. The Nebulas are given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which Ellison helped found in 1965 and which he has publicly derided as parochial, unprofessional, ignorant and irrelevant. [See Quotes, below].
When he first took a writing course, his teacher told him he was terrible and should give up writing. When he became successful, he sent the teacher a copy of every good review his work ever got.
An outspoken supporter of Human Rights organizations.
(1994-1999) Creative consultant for the television series, Babylon 5 (1994).
Two of his most well-regarded stories "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman", and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" were each written the night before their deadlines.
Neil Gaiman once visited him at his home and was asked to distract an editor who was there to pick up a story while Ellison finished writing it.
In Dreams with Sharp Teeth (2008), he claims that a set designer working from the Script of Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever (1967) misread the word "runes" as "ruins" and took something away from his vision.
In Dreams with Sharp Teeth (2008), he describes how he visited a TV recording session for one of his scripts where the actress, who he claims was "shtupping someone", kept mispronouncing "Camus" as "Came-us". Harlan caused a scene, shouting that "Everyone'll think I'm an idiot". The director asked who Harlan was and when told he was the writer said "What's he doing here?". Harlan left and the mistake was never corrected.
Stephen King, in "Danse Macabre" describes the scene in the pitching sessions for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) where an executive kept rejecting ideas, saying "No, we've got to think big!" Harlan tired of this and said: "How about this? The Enterprise travels light years out of the galaxy, breaks through the wall of the Universe, and there in front of them is the massive face of God. How's that?" The executive fidgeted for a moment then said "No, that's still not big enough. We need an idea that's big." Harlan said "Screw this. I'm a writer. I don't know what the hell you are.".

Personal Quotes (22)

[his feelings about the term "science-fiction"] Call me a "science-fiction" writer and I'll come to your house and nail your pet's head to the table.
For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered.
[on working in Hollywood] This town is filled with weasels and wormers and people who will stab you in the front if they can't reach your back.
[in 1980] There are fewer and fewer people reading today. Clearly. Obviously. Statistics prove it, and historically what we're doing is we're programming ourselves right into an illiterate no-no land. It's going to be crazier and crazier in this country as the years go by and it shows up in every kind of way.
We're becoming sytematically driven into the ground. Bad taste becomes the order of the day, and people who object to it, schumcks like me, are suddenly spoilsports.
I think love and sex are separate and only vaguely similar. Like the word bear and the word bare. You can get in trouble mistaking one for the other.
There are two things I found when I did The Merv Griffin Show (1962), the two things I said that got them really crazy, was that I didn't believe in God, and that I really believe there are some people who are better than others.
The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen...and stupidity.
You are not entitled to your opinion, you are entitled to your informed opinion. If you are not informed on the subject, then your opinion counts for nothing.
[1985 interview in "Starlog"] In real life, we are what we do. I'm a writer. That's what I do. Everything I do in a day is in some way connected to it. If I get up and I have my Grape Nuts with raisins or I get laid or I shoot some pool or whatever it is that I do, I'm thinking about writing. It's all involved in the creative process. There is no system. The totality that is my life is how I write. When I get up and when I write is different every day, but every day, I write. People say, "Oh, you're so prolific." That's a remark made by assholes who don't write. What else would I be doing? If I were a plumber and I repaired 10,000 toilets, would they say, "Boy, you're a really prolific plumber!" I'm a writer, I have been for 30 years.
My role in life is to be a burr under the saddle. I didn't pick that for myself, it just happens that's the way I am. I wish I could be one of the really sweet guys. Nobody ever says a bad thing about people like Robert Bloch and that's because they are really decent, wonderful people. But for me nobody has a good word. That's because my allegiance is to art, to the work, I have no allegiance to magazines, producers, studios, networks or anything. The work is what counts.
I don't take a piss without getting paid. People expect everything for nothing. But is Warner Brothers out there with an eye patch and a tin can on the street? They expect the writer to work for nothing and the problem [is] there are so many goddamn writers who have no idea they're supposed to get paid every time they do something. They do it for nothing. Are they any less a media whore than I? I think not. But it's just that no one has offered to buy their soul.
Love ain't nothing but sex misspelled.
It is very warming and pleasing to be thought to be in the company of Alfred Bester and Andre Norton and people like that. But I am conflicted. When you have been the voice of the loyal opposition for 40 years, and suddenly they turn on you and give you an award, it does in some ways make you think it's the end of the road. They only give you these awards when you're in sight of being canned as worm food. And I'm too cranky to go down without a fight.
Star Wars (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)) is adolescent nonsense; Close Encounters (Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)) is obscurantist drivel; Star Trek (1966) can turn your brains to purée of bat guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who (1963)! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or in a bunch to back it up!
I was giving a lecture, and afterwards a student put up his hand and said 'Mr Ellison, you keep mentioning this person Dachau, like he's someone I'm supposed to have heard of. Who is Dachau, please?' I'm sorry but your kids are stick-stone, out-and-out, downright stupid!
Don't start an argument with somebody who has a microphone when you don't. They'll make you look like chopped liver.
To say more, is to say less.
I hate being wrong, but I love it when I'm set straight.
When belief in a god dies, the god dies.
I don't mind you thinking I'm stupid, but don't talk to me like I'm stupid.
The Universe doesn't even know we're here.

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