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E.L. Doctorow
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    (January 6, 1931-July 21, 2015)
    Born in Bronx, New York
    Birth name was Edgar Lawrence Doctorow
    Wrote the novels 'Welcome to Hard Times' (1960), 'The Book of Daniel' (1971), 'Ragtime' (1975), 'Loon Lake' (1980), 'World's Fair' (1985), 'Billy Bathgate' (1988), 'The Waterworks' (1994), 'City of God' (2000), 'The March' (2005) and 'Homer & Langley' (2009)
    He inspired an odd rumor that his name was actually a pseudonym for either a group of eight female writers (with 'E.L.' standing for 'eight ladies') or a black physician whose initials are O.W. ('Doctor O.W.')
    He decided whether to take a position as Visiting Writer at the University of California by consulting the I Ching.
    John Updike wrote that his use of historical figures as characters 'smacked of playing with helpless dead puppets.'
    Although his books are best sellers, the movies made from them are usually flops. ('People have always said my work is cinematic, except the directors I've worked with.')
    He said, 'A writer's life is so hazardous that anything he does is bad for him: failure's bad, success is bad, impoverishment is bad, money is very, very bad. Nothing good can happen.'
    He was named for Edgar Allan Poe.
    He was married to Helen Setzer for over 50 years.
    The paperback rights for 'Ragtime' sold for a then-record $1.8 million.
    The Washington Post wrote, 'Doctorow occupies one of the narrowest subsets in American letters -- the million-selling author who is taken seriously.'
    He is Barack Obama's second-favorite author, after Shakespeare.

Credit: C. Fishel

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