'Fahrenheit 451' author Ray Bradbury dies at 91

June 6, 2012

Associated Press and Cassidy Herrington

Ray Bradbury, the renowned science fiction writer and Waukegan native, died last night at 91.

Reached at Bradbury's home, his daughter, Alexandra Bradbury, says her father died Tuesday night in Southern California. She did not have additional details.

Bradbury transformed his childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and his vision of a high-tech, book-burning future in Fahrenheit 451.

Listen to Sam Weller on Ray Bradbury from Afternoon Shift

"He loved humanity, and he had great hope for humanity," said Bradbury's biographer and close friend, Sam Weller. "A lot of people think that the man who wrote Farenheit 451 might have been a dark person, but that was a cautionary tale. A tale of him warning us about a future society without books and reading."

Weller told WBEZ's The Afternoon Shift that Bradbury left Illinois at 13, but his roots here shaped his approach to writing. His hometown even inspired his fictional "Green Town."

"Waukegan and Green Town and just the Midwestern sensibility was who he was," Weller said. "He was nostalgic, sentimental. He lived by his heart, not so much his head."

Bradbury wrote more than 30 books and 600 short stories.

His series of stories in The Martian Chronicles was a Cold War morality tale in which events on another planet served as a commentary on life on this planet. It has been published in more than 30 languages.

He also scripted the 1956 film version of Moby Dick and wrote for The Twilight Zone.