Known for movies

Short Info

DiedNovember 1, 2006, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, United States
SpouseRose Burgunder
FactHis best-seller "Sophie's Choice" won the American Book Award for fiction in 1980. Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her performance in the 1982 film adaptation (Sophie's Choice (1982)).

William Styron was an American novelist and essayist best known for his novels The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice. He was born on June 11, 1925, in Newport News, Virginia, to parents William Clark Styron Sr. and Pauline Margaret Abraham Styron. He had two older sisters, Margaret and Paula. Styron’s father was a marine engineer and his mother was a teacher. Styron was educated at Lafayette High School in Newport News and at Duke University, where he majored in English.

After graduation, Styron enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to Duke to complete his bachelor’s degree. He then worked as a reporter for The Newport News Times-Herald. In 1947, he married Rose Burgunder, with whom he would have four children: Susanna, Paola, Alexandra, and Thomas.

Styron’s first novel, Lie Down in Darkness, was published in 1951 to critical acclaim. His second novel, The Long March, was published in 1953. In 1954, he received the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which allowed him to live and work in Italy for a year.

In 1959, Styron published his third novel, Set This House on Fire, which was set in Italy and dealt with themes of mental illness and suicide. The novel was controversial and was banned in some schools. In 1967, Styron published his fourth novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, which tells the story of the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in 1831. The novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1968.

In 1979, Styron published his fifth novel, Sophie’s Choice, which tells the story of a Polish Catholic woman who is sent to Auschwitz during World War II. The novel was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep in 1982.

Styron continued to write throughout his life and published several collections of essays and short stories. He died on November 1, 2006, at his home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

General Info

Full NameWilliam Styron
DiedNovember 1, 2006, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, United States
ProfessionAuthor, Screenwriter, Novelist, Essayist
EducationDuke University, Davidson College


SpouseRose Burgunder
ChildrenSusanna Styron, Alexandra Styron, Paola Styron, Thomas Styron
ParentsPauline Margaret Abraham Styron, William Clark Styron Sr.


AwardsPulitzer Prize for Fiction, Prix mondial Cino Del Duca, St. Louis Literary Award, Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, National Book Award for Fiction (Hardcover)
NominationsNational Book Award for Fiction
MoviesShadrach, Sophie's Choice, Goodbye Uncle Tom

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1[from a letter to Norman Mailer, 1953] I think I'm arriving at a point which, more and more, I'm conscious of mannerisms and therefore tend to avoid them and go instead more directly to to the point. It's a hell of a hard process, but I take to it more instinctively than the other way around: the brawny method, like a big guy bellowing his way through a crowd.


1He was born into a well-to-do family, and decided to become a writer when he was in his teens. His mother died when he was 13, and he attributed some of his later problems to his continuing grief. He served in WWII in the US Marines.
2First novel was the Southern-styled "Lie Down in Darkness".
3Served in the Marines during WWII and later graduated from Duke University.
4His best-seller "Sophie's Choice" won the American Book Award for fiction in 1980. Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her performance in the 1982 film adaptation (Sophie's Choice (1982)).
5Graduate of Duke University.
6He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1993 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
7Won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his novel "The Confessions of Nat Turner".
8President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983
9Father of Susanna Styron, Paola Styron, Alexandra Styron and Thomas Styron.




Shadrach1998short story
Sophie's Choice1982based on the novel: "Sophie's Choice" by
Playhouse 901958TV Series novelet - 1 episode


Poetry, Passion, the Postman: The Poetic Return of Pablo Neruda1996TV Movie documentary thanks - as Bill Styron


Charlie Rose2006TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property2003DocumentaryHimself
Mark Twain2001TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
Na plovárne2000TV SeriesHimself
Dead Blue: Surviving Depression1998TV Movie documentaryHimself
America Undercover1998TV Series documentaryHimself
Death Dreams of Mourning1997Video documentaryHimself - Author
Mike Wallace Remembers1997TV MovieHimself
Un siècle d'écrivains1997TV Series documentaryHimself
Poetry, Passion, the Postman: The Poetic Return of Pablo Neruda1996TV Movie documentaryHimself - Author
Bookmark1995TV SeriesHimself
Naked in New York1993Himself
Crossing Borders: The Journey of Carlos Fuentes1989TV MovieHimself
American Masters1989TV Series documentaryHimself
James Jones: Reveille to Taps1985Video documentaryHimself
The David Frost Show1970TV SeriesHimself
Un alma pura1965Himself

Archive Footage

Jeopardy!2010TV SeriesHimself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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