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Edward Gorey

Writer / Illustrator

Born: 22 February 1925
Died: 15 April 2000
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Best known as:

The macabre illustrator who did the opening for the PBS show Mystery!

Name at birth: Edward St. John Gorey

 

Edward Gorey was a writer and pen-and-ink illustrator whose gothic and humorously macabre style can be seen in books such as The Doubtful Guest (1957) and, most famously, in the animated sequence introducing the PBS series Mystery!. Gorey grew up in Chicago and started his artistic career early, publishing illustrations in the local newspaper when he was in his teens. His stab at art school was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II, and after the war Gorey went to Harvard in 1946. He studied French, was involved in the theater and graduated in 1950, and after a couple of years in Boston went to New York City to work as an illustrator for Doubleday Publishers. Edward Gorey published his first book in 1953, an illustrated novella called The Unstrung Harp. While illustrating for magazines and books, he began producing his own work -- books and illustrations -- and selling them out of New York's Gotham Book Mart. He founded his own publishing firm, Fantod Press, in 1961, and produced dozens of little books on his own. A fan of ballet and theater, Gorey also did stage design where he had a summer home, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Later, in 1977, his design for a Broadway revival of Dracula would win him a Tony award for costumes. His anthology Amphigorey came out in 1972 and was followed by three others, helping to bring him national attention. His illustrations often accompanied great works of literature, and in his later years he became more involved in book design, with pop-ups and other creative formats. His books include The Curious Sofa (1961), The Beastly Baby (1962) and The Haunted Tea-Cosy (1998).

Extra credit:

Edward Gorey used many pseudonyms over the years, often based on anagrams of his own name. His pseudonyms included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Wardore Edgy and Eduard Blutig… He never married and said he considered himself "asexual"... Edward Gorey was featured in a Google Doodle on February 22, 2013 -- what would have been his 88th birthday.

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