As the mastermind behind over 87 books and perhaps the most well-known horror author of all time, Stephen King is a household name. Even if you aren’t a fan of It or The Shining, it’s hard to deny King’s talent. Here are a few facts about him.
Holds the Record for Adaptations from Book to Film
Even if you haven’t read any of King’s books, you’ve probably seen at least one of their film adaptations. King currently holds the record for the most film adaptations of any author in existence, with a total of 34 movies based on his work. The most popular film adaptation to date was Andy Muschietti’s 2017 version of It, which earned over $300 million at the box office.
Tried to Trash His First Novel
According to his memoir On Writing, King wrote the first few pages of what would one day become his first novel, Carrie—then threw them in the trash. Luckily, his wife recovered the discarded sheets of paper and convinced him to keep writing. “You’ve got something here. I really think you do,” she said. So he decided to keep moving forward with the story. The book ended up launching King’s career as we know it today.
Almost Retired After a Van Crashed into Him
In 1999, after King was already a well-established writer, he was walking down a road near his home one day when a van hit him. King was thrown about 14 feet away from his original location due to the impact. His subsequent injuries were severe and included a gash on his head, several broken ribs, a fractured hip, some fractured leg bones, and a punctured lung. He had to endure five surgeries, months of torturous physical therapy, and a metal device on his leg for years before he was fully physically healed. After taking a long break from writing during his recovery, he said it was incredibly difficult to get back into the profession and officially announced his retirement in 2002. However, that didn’t last long, and he has published 24 books since then.
Dislikes The Shining’s Film Adaptation
When asked about Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his famous book The Shining, King said he wasn’t a fan. His main problem? King said the movie denied the main character, Jack, any character development—which was a large part of the emotional aspect of the book. King wrote the book while he himself was battling addictions similar to Jack’s, so his personal connection to the story may have played a role in his dislike of the film.
Owns Three Radio Stations with his Wife, Tabitha
The couple boasts joint ownership of Zone Radio, a company that heads three stations in their native state of Maine. One station covers news and sports, one plays alternative music, and one, known as “Stephen King’s Rock Station,” covers classic rock.
Banned One of His Own Books
Rage was a book King published in 1977 about a high school student who holds members of his school hostage at gunpoint. After the book was tied to several real school shootings a few years later, King had it removed from print. In an essay he later wrote titled “Guns,” King said his book did not turn these students into killers, but that he “did see Rage as a possible accelerant” and thus decided to pull it. “You don’t leave a can of gasoline,” he went on, “where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.”
Can’t Remember Writing Cujo
In his memoir, King reveals that he struggled with alcohol and drug addiction in the ’80s and that one of the many unfortunate side effects was gaps in his memory. He said he barely remembers writing Cujo. “I like that book,” he said. “I wish I could remember enjoying the good parts as I put them down on the page.”
Once Played in a Band
From 1992 to 2012, King lent his musical talents to the band The Rock Bottom Remainders. The band was composed of other writers, including Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Matt Groening, and Ridley Pearson. The band toured the country and competed in musical events between everyone’s writing schedules. King played the guitar.