The man I chose for my hero is well-known author Stephen Edwin King. He has written over 50 books and short stories and has had over 43 of them turned into feature films, in which he has played several roles. Over 300 million copies of his books have been sold, and have been translated into 33 different languages. He is one of the world's most prolific horror writers and has published many well known tales such as Carrie, The Stand, It, and Salem’s Lot. In 1999, while walking, King was hit by a car and hospitalized. However, he overcame this and continues to write to this day.
Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine, to Donald and Ruth King. His parents divorced, and he and his brother David King were raised by their mother, who received financial support from other family members. In 1966, he graduated from Libson Falls High School and went on to attend the University of Maine in Orono. It was working as a student in the Fogler library that he met his future wife, Tabitha, who worked with King. He graduated in the year of 1970 fully qualified to begin teaching at a high school level. In January of 1971, he and Tabitha were married, where they lived off his small wages from his job at an industrial laundry, Tabitha’s savings, and the money that he would receive every now and then from selling one of his short stories. He found work as an English teacher in the fall of 1971 at Hampden Academy, where he taught for almost two years making $6,400, and was able to work on short stories and novels on weekends and evenings. By spring of 1973, he finished his first novel, Carrie, whose profits allowed him to leave teaching and focus solely on his writing. This small step began the career which would give birth to one of America’s most prominent authors.
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Even people who have never read Stephen King are familiar with his name through his reputation or the adaptations of his books into movies. His works have impacted the entire world with their unforgettable characters, both the heroes and the villains, or their breathtaking plots. The Green Mile, a six-part serial novel, was later combined into a single book, and then into an award winning movie starring Tom Hanks and Bonnie Hunt. Carrie, his first novel, was made into a movie and a Broadway musical. His second novel, Salem’s Lot, a vampire story, was made into both a television miniseries and a movie. Perhaps one of King’s most famous adaptation is The Shining, made in 1980. Starring Jack Nicholson, it spawned two opinions: some people thought of it as a wonderful interpretation, others as a ruination of the novel. King, along with Mick Garris, then made a television miniseries whose plotline was made to be closer to the book. He has recently released the fifth book in the seven book long epic of The Dark Tower.
On June 19, 1999, Stephen King was hit by a car and hospitalized with multiple fractures to his right leg and hip, a scalp laceration, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. The driver, Bryan Smith, was distracted by his rottweiler Bullet and began to swerve onto the side of the road. King was thrown over the van’s windshield and barely missed hitting a rocky ledge. He was taken to North Cumberland hospital in Bridgeton, where he was then airlifted to Central Maine Medical Institute in Lewiston. He was in the hospital over 3 weeks and had over five surgeries. Rehabilitation followed, but even with that, he still cannot walk one-hundred percent. Yet, after all this, he has decided to continue writing, though not at the same pace as before the accident.
Stephen King is my hero because of his generosity and determination. He has donated to many charities, including the American Cancer Society, and has provided several scholarships to the students of Hampden Academy. In 2002, he volunteered to become a writing coach through an interactive online system. He worked hard as a teacher for two years and struggled to make a living with his new wife, Tabitha. He has persevered through more than most people go through in their entire lives; from losing his father, to the accident, and has shown perseverance and determination through it all, and even continues to write to this day. Because of these traits, he is my hero.
The Official Stephen King Website:
- All about Stephen King.
- An interview with King after the accident.
- A biography and list of works.
- King volunteers to coach 7th grade writing.