Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers. Many of Bradbury's works have been adapted into television shows or films.
Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, to Esther (Moberg) Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, a power and telephone lineman of English descent. He was given the middle name "Douglas," after the actor, Douglas Fairbanks.
Ray Bradbury was surrounded by a loving extended family during his early childhood and formative years in Waukegan. This period provided foundations for both the author and his stories. In Bradbury's works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes "Green Town," Illinois. In his stories, Green Town is a symbol of safety and home, which is often juxtaposed as a contrasting backdrop to tales of fantasy or menace. It serves as the setting of his modern classics Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer. In Green Town, Bradbury's favorite uncle sprouts wings, traveling carnivals conceal supernatural powers, and his grandparents provide room and board to Charles Dickens. Perhaps the most definitive usage of the pseudonym for his hometown, in Summer Morning, Summer Night, a collection of short stories and vignettes exclusively about Green Town, Bradbury returns to the signature locale as a look back at the rapidly disappearing small-town world of the American heartland, which was the foundation of his roots.
Between 1926 and 1933, the Bradbury family moved back and forth between Waukegan and Tucson, Arizona. In 1931, at age eleven, young Ray began writing his own stories. The country was going through the Great Depression, and sometimes Bradbury wrote on butcher paper.
The Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California in 1934.
Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar Douglas Spaulding. He was also descended from Mary Bradbury, who was tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692. She was married to Captain Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts.