John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 – December 20, 1968) was an American author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories. He is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat (1935) and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Red Pony (1937). The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939), widely attributed to be part of the American literary canon, is considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece. In the first 75 years since it was published, it sold 14 million copies.
The winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, Steinbeck has been called “a giant of American letters”.
But did you know that this famous author wrote screenplays that had nothing to do with his books? One of his movie scripts was for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat” (1944), and another for Elia Kazan’s “Viva Zapata!” (1952) starring Marlon Brando. Kazan also directed “East of Eden” (1955), the film version of the 1952 Steinbeck novel that many consider his second best book after “The Grapes of Wrath.” Kazan earned the wrath of many principled people when he “named names” during the McCarthy era, and Steinbeck exited his progressive mental Eden late in life to support the Vietnam War.
WOW! It seems John Steinbeck was a jack of all trades!