Edit
Ken Kesey Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 17 September 1935La Junta, Colorado, USA
Date of Death 10 November 2001Eugene, Oregon, USA  (following surgery for liver cancer)
Birth NameKenneth Elton Kesey

Mini Bio (1)

Kesey burst into the literary scene with the "Cuckoo's Nest" in 1962 which he wrote from his experiences working at a veterans hospital. During this period, he volunteered for the testing on the drug LSD. After writing his second novel, "Sometimes A Great Notion," he bought an old school bus dubbed "Further." With Neal Cassidy at the wheel and pitchers of LSD-laced-Kool-Laid in the cooler, Kesey and a band of friends who called themselves The Merry Pranksters took a trip across America to New York's World Fair. It would be 28 years until Kesey published his third major novel, "Sailor Song," in 1992, and he later said he lost interest in the novel as an art form after he discovered the magic of the bus. The bus ride was immortalized in Tom Wolfe's 1968 account, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." The movie version of the "Cuckoo's Nest" swept the 1974 Academy Awards for best actor, best actress, best director, and best picture. But Kesey, who has never seen the film, sued the producers because it took the viewpoint away from the character of the schizophrenic American Indian, Cheif Bromden. Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992 and set down root in Pleasant Hill, in the mid 1960s, after serving four months in jail for a marijuana bust in California. His rambling red barn-house has become a landmark of the psychedelic era, attracting visits from myriad strangers in tie-dyed clothing seeking enlightenment.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rambler999@hotmail.com

Spouse (1)

Norma Faye Haxby (20 May 1956 - 10 November 2001) (his death) (4 children)

Trivia (12)

Hospitalized after suffering a stroke. [September 1997]
His parents were dairy farmers.
Studied writing at Stanford University.
Children: Shannon (b. 1960), Zane (b. 1961), Jed (b. 1964, d. 1984), and Sunshine (b. 1967)
Graduated from the University of Oregon.
In 1959 he volunteered for drug experiments at a hospital in Menlo Park, California, where he worked in the psychiatric ward. That served as his inspiration for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". He was not, as many have come to believe, a patient in the ward when he volunteered for those experiments. He worked there as an attendant.
Never saw (nor wanted to see) the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), based on his novel, because he had "other people in mind".
The motion picture Gerry (2002) directed by Gus Van Sant is dedicated to his memory.
His son Jed, killed in a 1984 van wreck on a road trip with the University of Oregon wrestling team, was buried in the back yard.
In 1967 he fathered a daughter, Sunshine, with a woman who called herself "Mountain Girl", who in the 1980s married musician Jerry Garcia.
The stage adaptation of his novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," was awarded the 1973 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Play Production at the Arlington Park Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Through his ancestors William Terrell and Susannah Waters, he is an eighth cousin once removed to Jimmy Carter and a ninth cousin once removed to Barack Obama.

Personal Quotes (1)

[on not being mentioned as author of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', when it won the Best Picture award] Oscar night should have been one of the great days of my life, like my wedding. I really love movies. When they can be turned around to break your heart like this, well, it's like something you never thought would happen.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page