Name at birth: Howard Phillips Lovecraft
One of the 20th century's most influential horror writers, H.P. Lovecraft is most famous for his stories involving a slimy alien god named Cthulhu. Lovecraft was born and raised in Rhode Island and made his living as a ghost writer and contributor to pulp magazines such as Weird Tales. After 1923 he published dozens of horror stories under a variety of pseudonyms, but his fame was posthumous. Lovecraft actively encouraged other writers to use elements of his "Cthulhu Mythos," and that alternate world -- fishy alien beings eager to oppress humans -- has been the subject of stories, novels, movies and comics since his death. His most famous works include the short stories "The Statement of Randolph Carter," "The Dunwich Horror" and "The Call of Cthulhu." His novels include The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness.