AKA John Wallace Blunt Jr.
Birthplace: Exeter, NH
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The World According to Garp
Irving's parents divorced during his mother's pregnancy, and he was born John Wallace Blunt, Jr. His mother remarried when John was six, and the boy was renamed John Winslow Irving. His stepfather taught Russian history at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
His first three novels sold several thousand copies each, as Irving supported himself by teaching. His fourth novel, The World According to Garp, sold about 4,000,000 copies in English, and another 4,000,000 translated into other languages. Five of Irving's novels have been adapted to film: The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire, A Prayer for Owen Meany (as Simon Birch), The Cider House Rules (the only one scripted by Irving himself), and A Widow for One Year (as The Door in the Floor).
Between his novels, Irving spent 13 years writing the screenplay for The Cider House Rules. He asked the makers of Simon Birch not to use the book's title for the film, as the screenplay is faithful only to the book's first chapter. He has written a non-fiction book, My Movie Business: A Memoir, recounting the problems inherent in squeezing his huge, sprawling novels into a two-hour movie.
The Cider House Rules was considered controversial by some, for its characterization of an ether-addicted doctor providing abortions while the procedure was illegal. The author is adamantly pro-abortion. "I don't think abortion is necessarily a good thing," he says, "but I believe that a woman legally must have the choice to end her pregnancy. What bothers me most is that religious people think that they can force their views on other people through the courts. I don't believe that any person has the right to force their religion on another."
When the BBC asked listeners to list their best-loved novels, Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany came in 28th place, just ahead of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and a few notches behind The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien.
He has been inducted into the American Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Wife: Shyla Leary (m. 1964, div. 1982, two sons)
Son: Brendan (with Leary)
Son: Colin (with Leary)
Wife: Janet Turnbull (his agent, m. 1987, one son)
Son: Everett (with Turnbull)
High School: Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
University: University of Pittsburgh
University: BA, University of New Hampshire (1965)
University: University of Vienna
University: MFA, University of Iowa (1967)
Academy of Achievement (2005)
American Book Award For The World According to Garp
Draft Deferment: Vietnam 3-A
Risk Factors: Dyslexia
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project (11-Feb-2011) · Himself
The Cider House Rules (7-Sep-1999)
The World According to Garp (23-Jul-1982)
Author of books:
Setting Free the Bears (1968, novel)
The Water-Method Man (1972, novel)
The 158-Pound Marriage (1974, novel)
The World According to Garp (1978, novel)
The Hotel New Hampshire (1981, novel)
Cider House Rules (1985, novel)
A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989, novel)
A Son of the Circus (1994, novel)
A Widow for One Year (1998, novel)
The Fourth Hand (2001, novel)
Until I Find You (2005, novel)
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