Ray Russell
AUTHOR

Ray Russell

Ray Russell was the author of 17 books. His “zest” has been commented on by The New York Times, his “brilliance” by Anthony Burgess, his “distinguished style” by the Washington Star, his “remarkable gifts as a worthy poet” by Karl Shapiro, and his ability to “engross, intrigue, and royally entertain” by Meyer Levin. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Russell served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war, he attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music and the Goodman Memorial Theatre, and soon joined the staff of Playboy. First as an Associate Editor and later as the magazine’s first Executive Editor, he played a vital role in turning the magazine into a showcase for imaginative fiction. At Playboy, Russell published such writers as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, and Charles Beaumont, while also editing many of the bestselling Playboy anthologies. His first novel, The Case Against Satan, was first published in 1962; a new edition was published in 2015 by Penguin Random House. His best known work, Sardonicus, was called by Stephen King “perhaps the finest example of the modern Gothic ever written.” His work also included publications in The Paris Review and several screenplays, including Mr. Sardonicus, The Horror Of It All, and X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Although Russell is best known for his horror stories, he was much more versatile. He wrote many light hearted, funny stories and satirical pieces. His 1960’s novel The Colony is a comic satire, praised at the time as “A raucous joke on Hollywood…the kind of story that makes you laugh out loud.” He was a prolific writer of short stories; he had over 150 magazine appearances, including over 50 in Playboy, and 135 appearances in anthologies. His work was translated into Japanese, German, Italian, Danish, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. Ray Russell was the winner of the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 and the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Horror Convention in 1992. He passed away in Los Angeles in 1999.
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