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Daniel Keyes

Source Material
( b. Aug 09, 1927 Brooklyn, New York, USA - d. Jun 15, 2014 Boca Raton, Florida, USA ) Male

Daniel Keyes was the author of "Flowers for Algernon," the story of a man with an I.Q. of 68 who temporarily becomes a genius after surgery -- a book that inspired the film "Charly." starring Cliff Robertson. The premise underlying Mr. Keyes's best-known novel struck him while he waited for an elevated train to take him from Brooklyn to New York University in 1945.

After 15 years that thought grew into the novella "Flowers for Algernon," which was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1959 and won the Hugo Award for best short fiction in 1960.

By 1966 Mr. Keyes had expanded the story into a novel with the same title, which tied for the Nebula Award for best novel that year. The film, for which Mr. Robertson won the Academy Award for best actor, was released in 1968.

"Flowers for Algernon" went on to sell more than five million copies and to become a staple of English classes. It inspired television adaptations, one of which also starred Mr. Robertson, and stage productions, including a musical and a play in Korean.

The story was written as a series of first-person progress reports by Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old bakery worker with an intellectual disability who is chosen for an experimental operation to increase his intelligence. A white mouse named Algernon had undergone the procedure and had become intelligent enough to solve mazes much faster than Charlie.

The operation makes Charlie a genius but alienates him from others and embitters him. Algernon's intelligence fades, then he dies, and Charlie realizes that he faces a similar fate. He undergoes a period of fraught self-discovery before his intelligence ebbs, leaving him unable to comprehend the books he relished. The novel ends with Charlie in a home for the mentally disabled, unaware of his former intellectual flights.

Mr. Keyes wrote four more novels, three of which centered on characters with psychological issues. He also wrote three books of nonfiction, including "The Minds of Billy Milligan" (1981), about a criminal with 24 distinct personalities.

Source: The New York Times obituary

ProductionsDate of Productions
Charlie and Algernon
[Musical, Original]
  • Based on the novel "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
Sep 14, 1980 - Sep 28, 1980
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