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Jack Kerouac

Biography

Jack port Kerouac was the main author of the “Defeat” motion within the ’50s. His main work was On the highway (1957), an autobiographical book describing his moves together with a unique personality called Dean Moriarty (in true to life, Neal Cassady). In afterwards books, Kerouac told various other tales of lifestyle on the highway and also composed of his youth and upbringing in Lowell, MA. Although he was a deep influence over the youth from the ’60s (and even though Cassady, on the other hand, enthusiastically became a member of in over the hippie motion within the Merry Pranksters so when a mentor towards the Pleased Deceased), Kerouac generally disavowed the hedonism and medication usage of the ’60s counterculture. His poetry and books continue to impact young people years after his loss of life.

Quick Facts


Full Name Jack Kerouac
Died October 21, 1969, St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
Height 1.73 m
Profession Actor, Author, Poet, Novelist, Painter, Screenwriter
Education Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York, Lowell High School, Horace Mann School, The New School, Columbia University
Nationality American
Spouse Stella Kerouac, Joan Kerouac, Edie Parker
Children Jan Kerouac
Parents Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, Leo Alcide Kerouac
Siblings Gérard Kerouac, Caroline Kerouac
Music Songs The Beat Generation, American Haikus, October In The Railroad Earth, Bowery Blues, San Francisco Scene, Jazz of the Beat Generation, Readings From "On The Road" And "Visions Of Cody", The Sounds of the Universe Coming in My Window, I Had A Slouch Hat Too One Time, Colclusion of the Railroad Earth, Fantasy: The Early History Of Bop, Deadbelly, Goofing At The Table, Hard Hearted Old Farmer, I'd Rather Be Thin Than Famous, Dave Brubeck, Poems From The Unpublished "Book Of Blues", MacDougal Street Blues, The Wheel Of The Quivering Meat Conception, The Moon Her Majesty, Leavin' Town, One Mother, Old Western Movies, Orizaba 210 Blues, Is There a Beat Generation, Ain't We Got Fun, When a Woman Loves a Man, Lucien Midnight: The Sounds Of The Universe In My Window, Pt. 1, Washington D.C. Blues, Reading From ''On The Road'', The Last Hotel & Some of the Dharma, Lucien Midnight: The Sounds of the Universe in My Window
Albums Blues and Haikus, Poetry for the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road, The Complete Collection, Titanium Hits, Famous Hits by Jack Kerouac
Movies Big Sur, On the Road, Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac: What Happened to Kerouac?, Kerouac, the Movie, Pull My Daisy


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 His last editor, Ellis Amburn - in his biography "Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac" - said that Kerouac claimed he lost his homosexual virginity on his first cruise with the Merchant Marine during World War II, when he was "corn-holed" by the cook. The cook later gave him a leather jacket in appreciation. After making a second trip during the War, Kerouac jumped ship during a third in order to escape the amorous advances of a bosun's mate.
2 Was offered $110,000 for the screen rights to "On the Road" (approximately $750,000 in 2006 terms). On the advice of his agent Sterling Lord, he turned the offer down, holding out for a hope-for $150,000 deal with Paramount that would have involved Marlon Brando starring as Dean Moriarity. The deal fell through and the book was never sold in his life time, leaving Kerouac with bitter feelings towards his agent.
3 Although he served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, like many French Canadians Kerouac felt that the U.S. should not be at war with Germany. Vichy France was an ally of Nazi Germany, and many French Candians in Quebec were pro-Germany (one of the reasons Laurence Olivier played a French Canadian trapper named Johnny who tells the Nazi officer he is a "Canadian" in Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's 49th Parallel (1941) was that it was a propaganda film to promote pro-British feeling in Canada, and specifically Quebec). When Canada resorted to conscription to swell the ranks of its army, there were draft riots throughout Quebec, so intense was the feeling against the United Kingdom, which of course had subjugated New France less than 200 years before (anti-war sentiment was so great that Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King declared that only volunteers would be shipped off to Europe). Both Kerouac's father Leo and his mother Gabrielle were anti-Semites and pro-German; in fact, when Jack had a nervous breakdown and was put in the psycho ward after undergoing Navy training, Leo said that he was proud of his son, that he wouldn't fight a war concocted by Communists and Jews. Kerouac still had these attitudes until the end of his life, and his last editor, Ellis Amburn (writing in his biography "Subterranean Kerouac: The Hidden Life of Jack Kerouac"), found his attitude troublesome when they were working on Kerouac's last novel published in his lifetime, "Vanity of Dulouz". In the book, the Kerouac character laments the death of "Aryans" as his ship is torpedoing a submarine.
4 Sporadically worked for movie studios summarizing scripts and writing synopses in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The jobs were infrequent; the longest stint was his initial assignment, which lasted six weeks in 1947.
5 In 1958, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer paid Kerouac $15,000 (approximately $100,000 in 2006 terms) for the rights to his book The Subterraneans (1960). Kerouac used the money to buy a house in Long Island, the first he had ever owned.
6 He came up with the title of his close friend William S. Burroughs's book "Naked Lunch", though he later claimed to have no memory of having done so. Kerouac was visiting Burroughs in Tangier in the mid-'50s and was drafted by Burroughs into retyping his manuscript. One story has it that the far-sighted Kerouac looked at the title of the manuscript, originally entitled "Naked Lust", and read it as "Naked Lunch." Burroughs allegedly liked the mistake so much he kept it. Ironically, food was one of the reasons that Burroughs' friendship with Kerouac began to sour. Both were dreadfully poor, but Kerouac -- who was staying rent-free with Burroughs -- would not give any money for food and ate all there was in the house, leaving none for his host. In 1957 a disgusted Burroughs eventually broke off his friendship with Kerouac, whom he now considered a selfish weakling, tied to his mother's apron strings. After the break they met only once more, in New York City in 1968 at a bar, before Kerouac went on William F. Buckley's TV talk show Firing Line (1966) (Kerouac had been an acquaintance of Buckley at the Horace Mann School). An alcoholic, Kerouac was already drunk and got drunker, and Burroughs told him not to go on the show. He did, and made a fool of himself.
7 Remembered in the 10,000 Maniacs song "Hey Jack Kerouac".
8 Never lost his sense of patriotism for America, even at the height of Vietnam War-era cynicism. When a flag was draped over him at a late-60s party, he carefully folded it and put it away.
9 Buried in his hometown; it was years before his grave received a marker. His epitaph reads "He honored life".
10 Never had a driver's license, and was envious of any skilled driver, his friend Neal Cassady in particular. Apparently made his peace with driving coming back from a Mexican trip, when he had to take the wheel part-time over long stretches of desert, as he described later in "Desolation Angels".
11 When World War II broke out, in a drunken haze he enlisted in the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard all on the same day. He ultimately shipped out for Naval training at Great Lakes, but soured on the whole idea after a few weeks, and started to give an unfinished manuscript more attention than anything else. Sensing a breakdown of some kind, his superiors sent him for psychological evaluation, leading to his discharge from the Navy. Later he enlisted in the Merchant Marine, serving a successful hitch and qualifying for veteran's benefits.
12 Entered Columbia University (where he met Allen Ginsberg) on a football scholarship, with the apparent promise that the athletic department would find his father Leo a job in New York. Jack broke his leg during a practice game and was out for the season, while the job for Leo never materialized, and Jack and his professors rarely saw eye-to-eye. Discouraged, he began cutting classes, then finally dropped out.
13 Kerouac's mother Gabrielle (called "Memère") usually had no involvement with her son's writing career. A rare exception was his novel "Pic", which he wrote much of at her bedside when Memère was ill. The original ending had the hero meeting other Kerouac characters and travelling with them; she suggested instead that young Pic meet a priest who'd help him to settle down.
14 His book, "On the Road", is referred to in the lyrics of the Marillion track "Torch Song": "Read some Kerouac and it put me on the tracks to burn a little brighter now".
15 He is one of several famous and tragic figures from history to be featured on the sleeve artwork of rock band Marillion's "Clutching at Straws" album (1987).
16 Author of "The Dharma Bums", expanded from his notes about a camping trip with writer and teacher Gary Snyder, when The Viking Press demanded a quick follow-up to "On the Road". (Snyder, who is called "Japhy Ryder" in the book, spent 13 years in Japan studying Zen Buddhism. He won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry his collection "Turtle Island".)
17 Kerouac researched his family history, turning up both a family crest and the motto "Love, Work and Suffer". According to Barry Miles' 1999 biography "King of the Beats", Kerouac claimed that his family was of aristocratic lineage, who emigrated from Ireland to Cornwall in England and then to Brittany. Miles says the name "Kerouac", in Breton dialect, likely means "Beloved father", which is highly ironic as Miles claims that Kerouac suffered from an Oedipal complex in which he replaced his father as his mother's faux-"husband".
18 His last marriage was to Stella Sampas, the sister of his friend and writing mentor Sammy Sampas (who died at Anzio during World War II). She had waited more than twenty years in their hometown (Lowell MA) for Jack to come back for her.


Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
L'aura de minuit 2015 Video short
Big Sur 2013 novel
On the Road 2012 based on the novel by
On the Trail: Jack Kerouac in Cheyenne 2010 Documentary short novel
Alfred Leslie: Cool Man in a Golden Age 2009 Video
Book of Blues 2001 Short poems
The Fifties 1997 TV Mini-Series documentary novel "On The Road" - 1 episode
United States of Poetry 1995 TV Mini-Series documentary poem
Drug-Taking and the Arts 1993 Documentary novel "On The Road"
What Happened to Kerouac? 1986 Documentary works "On the Road", "Visions of Cody", "Desolation Angels", "Mexico City Blues" and "Dr. Sax and others"
Kerouac, the Movie 1985 Documentary works "Visions of Gerard", "Dr. Sax", "Vanity of Duluoz", "The Town and the City", "On the Road", "Desolation Angels", "Dharma Bums" and "Big Sur and others"
On the Road 1962 TV Series story
The Subterraneans 1960 novel
Pull My Daisy 1959 Short writer

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
On the Road 2012 writer: "Sweet Sixteen"
Professor Norman Cornett 2009 Documentary writer: "Pull My Daisy"
American Masters TV Series documentary performer - 1 episode, 2005 writer - 1 episode, 2005

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Pull My Daisy 1959 Short Narrator

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Venus Blue 1998 Short poetry excerpts

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Firing Line 1968 TV Series Himself - Guest
Couch 1964 Himself
The Steve Allen Plymouth Show 1959 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Ben Hecht Show 1958 TV Series Himself - Author

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Sixties 2014 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself - Writer
Beat Generation 2013 TV Movie documentary Himself
Love Always, Carolyn 2011 Documentary Himself
Magic Trip: Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place 2011 Documentary Himself
Il falso bugiardo 2008 Himself
Speak Out 2007 TV Movie
SexTV 2006 TV Series documentary Himself
Beat Boys Beat Girls 2003 Short Himself
The Battle for 'I Am Curious-Yellow' 2003 Video documentary short Himself
New York in the 50's 2000 Documentary Himself (reads On the Road)
The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation 1999 Documentary Himself
Bravo Profiles 1998 TV Series documentary Himself
The Fifties 1997 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself (uncredited)
The Works 1997 TV Series documentary Himself
No More to Say & Nothing to Weep For: An Elegy for Allen Ginsberg 1926-1997 1997 TV Movie documentary Himself
United States of Poetry 1995 TV Mini-Series documentary Himself
American Masters 1994 TV Series documentary Himself
Sonic Youth: Teenage Riot 1988 Video short Himself (uncredited)
The Beat Generation: An American Dream 1987 Documentary Himself
What Happened to Kerouac? 1986 Documentary Himself
Kerouac, the Movie 1985 Documentary Himself (reads On The Road to Steve Allen) (uncredited)

Looks like we don't have awards information. Sorry!


TitleSalary
The Subterraneans (1960) $15,000

#Quote
1 [from the original manuscript of 'On the Road'] I shambled after as usual as I've been doing all my life after people that interest me, because the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yearn or say a commonplace thing...but burn, burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.
2 I'm pro-American... this country gave my French-Canadian family a good break.
3 I don't know, I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference!
4 You can't fight City Hall. It keeps changing its name.

#Trademark
1 Originated the term "Beat Generation."

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