Ray Bradbury

Writer

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Photograph courtesy Ray Bradbury

One night when I was 14, I roller-skated to the Uptown Theatre on Western. A limousine pulled up, and Norma Shearer, the greatest actress at MGM, came out wearing a silver lamé gown. She was accompanied by her husband, Irving Thalberg, the greatest producer at MGM. That was my first contact with famous people. The next day I roller-skated to Paramount and saw W.C. Fields. I got his autograph. He said, “There you are, you little son of a bitch.” On Friday nights I would go to boxing matches and stand outside, and coming out the door would be Mae West and Cary Grant and George Burns and Jack Benny. I wanted to be a writer, so I read everything. I went to the Central Library downtown. Then, when I couldn’t afford an office, I discovered UCLA’s Powell Library, where I could rent a typewriter for ten cents for half an hour. I went to my bank and got a big package of dimes and moved into the typing room. In nine hours I wrote the first version of Fahrenheit 451. » Bradbury, 90, graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1938.

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  1. JohnB_9913

    August 30, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Chris Nichols asked me to identify this photo, which turns out to have been shot looking north up Hill Street from beside the former Boos Bros Cafeteria at 530 S. Hill Street, east of Pershing Square. Boos was demolished some time prior to 1972.

    You can just make out “Boos Bros.” on the sign to the right. The shuttered, sunlit window in the background to the right of Ray’s head was the side of the former Hotel Portsmouth. A small parking lot stood between Portsmouth and Boos.