20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Stephen King

Let’s play a game of word association. Ok, we’ll start: horror writer… Now, if the first author that pops into your head isn’t Stephen King, then either a) you’re obviously far more attractive and erudite than us, or b) you’re lying.

Stephen King is the Big Mac of writers (his words, not ours). Unavoidable – an institution. However, unlike the fast food restaurant, King is actually good for your soul. His prose is witty, profound and, depending on what age you read his books, a master of suspense/bone chillingly scary (delete as appropriate).

But how much do you know about the man behind Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Misery, It, Pet Sematary and much, much more?

What follows are 20 things you probably didn’t know about Stephen King.

(Images: Rex Features, All Star)

  • 1

    1

    He suffers from triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number… More details

    1

    1

    He suffers from triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13. “The number 13 never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine. When I'm writing, I'll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I'll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number. I always take the last two steps on my back stairs as one, making 13 into 12. There were after all 13 steps on the English gallows up until 1900 or so. When I'm reading, I won't stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these numbers add up to 13.”

  • 2

    2

    A collection of short stories by HP Lovecraft called The… More details

    2

    2

    A collection of short stories by HP Lovecraft called The Lurker Of The Threshold has often been cited by King as a catalyst in becoming a writer. It was his absent father’s book and he found it in the attic. The cover of the book featured a demon.

  • 3

    3

    He said in a recent BBC interview that Jack Torrance (The… More details

    3

    3

    He said in a recent BBC interview that Jack Torrance (The Shining) was his most autobiographical character. At the time he wrote the book he was drinking a lot like Jack. Originally he saw Jack “as a heroic character battling his demons the way strong American men are supposed to do.”

  • 4

    4

    The Onion once wrote an article claiming that King couldn't… More details

    4

    4

    The Onion once wrote an article claiming that King couldn't remember writing The Tommyknockers. He then admitted that it was actually true as he couldn't remember writing many novels form the 80s due to his alcoholism, including Cujo.

  • 5

    5

    King and his wife Tabitha own three radio stations in their… More details

    5

    5

    King and his wife Tabitha own three radio stations in their home state of Maine.

  • 6

    6

    When it was revealed that the writer Richard Bachman was in… More details

    6

    6

    When it was revealed that the writer Richard Bachman was in fact Stephen King, he retired the alias citing that Bachman had died. The cause of death was given as cancer of the pseudonym.

  • 7

    7

    He told fellow author Neil Gaiman that if he had the chance… More details

    7

    7

    He told fellow author Neil Gaiman that if he had the chance to live his life all over again he wouldn’t change a thing. Apart from appearing in an American Express advert.

  • 8

    8

    According to Guinness Superlatives more of King’s books… More details

    8

    8

    According to Guinness Superlatives more of King’s books have been adapted into films than any other living author.

  • 9

    9

    King was declared unfit for military service in Vietnam… More details

    9

    9

    King was declared unfit for military service in Vietnam because the draft board found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet and punctured eardrums.

  • 10

    10

    A big fan of The Ramones, he wrote the liner notes for… More details

    10

    10

    A big fan of The Ramones, he wrote the liner notes for their 2003 tribute album, We’re A Happy Family.

  • 11

    11

    King was always interested in drama and cropped up in a… More details

    11

    11

    King was always interested in drama and cropped up in a number of his movies. He was a man at the ATM in Maximum Overdrive, a minister in Pet Sematary, a cemetary caretaker in Sleepwalkers, Teddy Weizak in The Stand, Tom Holby in The Langoliers, Dr Bangor in Thinner, Gage Creed in the TV version of The Shining and a pizza delivery guy in Rose Red.

  • 12

    12

    Originally, he threw the first draft of Carrie, originally… More details

    12

    12

    Originally, he threw the first draft of Carrie, originally intended as a short story, away but it was his wife Tabitha who saw potential and urged him to continue on with it. He ended up dedicating the book to her.

  • 13

    13

    The original title for Salem's Lot was Second Coming but,… More details

    13

    13

    The original title for Salem's Lot was Second Coming but, again, King's wife Tabitha stepped in and remarked that it sounded like a "bad sex story" so it was eventually changed.

  • 14

    14

    Rage, his first novel as Richard Bachman, was about a… More details

    14

    14

    Rage, his first novel as Richard Bachman, was about a disturbed high school student who held his classmates at gunpoint. After Jeffery Lyne Cox, a disturbed high school student, held his classmates hostage, was found to have read and been inspired by the book and then three similar incidents, King let Rage fall out of print in the US.

  • 15

    15

    King was once mistake for a vandal when he started signing… More details

    15

    15

    King was once mistake for a vandal when he started signing books during an unannounced visit to an Australian book shop.

  • 16

    16

    He loved the movie 28 Days Later so much that he bought out… More details

    16

    16

    He loved the movie 28 Days Later so much that he bought out an entire screening of it, all 275 tickets. Ironically, the director of 28 Weeks Later may now be directing the Pet Sematary remake.

  • 17

    17

    Reportedly, King attended a screening of Pan's Labyrinth… More details

    17

    17

    Reportedly, King attended a screening of Pan's Labyrinth and sat next to director Guillermo Del Toro. During the infamous Pale Man chase scene, King squirmed in his seat which Del Toro described as "the best experience ever".

  • 18

    18

    Ronald McDonald was one of the influences for Pennywise. More details

    18

    18

    Ronald McDonald was one of the influences for Pennywise.

  • 19

    19

    After his near-fatal accident in 1999, King's homecare… More details

    19

    19

    After his near-fatal accident in 1999, King's homecare nurses were told by their supervisor that under no circumstances were they allowed to make any Misery jokes...

  • 20

    20

    A Carrie musical? Yes, in 1988 it became an actual thing.… More details

    20

    20

    A Carrie musical? Yes, in 1988 it became an actual thing. Firstly by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England and then on Broadway later that year. Despite being sold out most nights, the reaction was extremely mixed and the $8 million show was closed after only 16 previews and 5 performances. It was brought back briefly in 2012 in an off-Broadway production.

Tags: Books

Share on

or email.

  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Delicious

Add a comment

Ballot Box

Best new artist this year?

Best new artist this year?