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Charles Bukowski

Writer / Poet

Born: 16 August 1920
Died: 9 March 1994 (leukemia)
Birthplace: Andernach, Germany
Best known as: The guy who wrote the movie Barfly
Henry Charles Bukowski was a drunken loafer and prolific writer known best for writing the autobiographical screenplay for Barfly (1987). "Hank" Bukowski was born in Germany but spent almost all of his life around Los Angeles, a city that figures prominently in his work. He first began publishing short stories (as Charles Bukowski) in the 1940s, but until the 1960s led an itinerant life on the fringes of society, working occasionally and abusing alcohol regularly. In the '60s and '70s his poems, short stories and essays appeared in small publications in the U.S. and Europe and he earned a small but loyal audience. He worked off and on in a post office until 1970, when he accepted a $100 monthly stipend from his publisher to "write and starve." The subject matter of his own life and his bare, sometimes comic descriptions of disaffected outsiders made him an underground celebrity, well-known in Europe and largely ignored in the U.S. -- until the movie Barfly. He died in 1994 after battling leukemia, leaving many works to be published posthumously. His poetry collections include It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (1963) and Love Is a Dog from Hell: Poems, 1974-1977 (1977); his short story collections include Hot Water Music (1983) and The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1986); his novels include Post Office (1971) and Factotum (1975, the basis of the 2006 movie with Matt Dillon).
Extra credit: The character Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's "alter ego," appears in much of his poetry and fiction... Bukowski's epitaph is "Don't Try."

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More on Charles Bukowski from Infoplease:

  • Charles Bukowski - Biography of Charles Bukowski, The guy who wrote the movie Barfly
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  • Factotum - Starring Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens, Didier Flamand
  • August 16 Birthdays: Menachem Begin - August 16 birthdays: Menachem Begin, Charles Bukowski, Frank Gifford, Madonna, Angela Bassett, James Cameron, George Meany, Suzanne Farrell

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