Ray Bradbury

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.