Celebrated horror novelist Peter Straub dead at 79

Horror novelist Peter Straub died on Sunday at the age of 79, his family said.

“Peter Francis Straub, the smartest and most fun person in every room he was ever in,” his daughter Emma wrote on Instagram Monday. “How lucky we were. There aren’t enough words in the world.”

Straub is best known for his supernatural horror novel “Julia” in 1975 which was later adapted into the film “The Haunting of Julia” starring Mia Farrow. His 1979 national bestseller “Ghost Story” was also adapted into a film starring Fred Astaire.

Over his four-decade career, the celebrated author was the recipient of multiple World Fantasy Awards, Bram Stoker Awards and the International Horror Guild Award.

“It’s a sad day because my good friend and amazingly talented colleague and collaborator, Peter Straub, has passed away,” fellow horror writer Stephen King tweeted. “Working with him was one of the great joys of my creative life.”

Straub published his bestselling novel “Ghost Story” in 1979.
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The two collaborated together to write the 1984 fantasy novel “The Talisman.”

English author Neil Gaiman called Straub “one of the best writers I’ve read” and “one of the best friends I’ve known.”

“Always kind, funny, irascible, brilliant. Once performed the Crow position in yoga, in a Milwaukee WI men’s room, because he was fearless & proud of his yoga I’ll miss you Peter,” Gaiman tweeted.

From left: Stephen King, John Grisham, Peter Straub and Pat Conroy.
Stephen King, John Grisham, Peter Straub and Pat Conroy.
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Straub was born in 1943 in Milwaukee, the son of a salesman and a nurse, according to his biography on his website. He attended Milwaukee Country Day School on a scholarship before going to the University of Wisconsin. He learned earned his Masters degree in English from Columbia University.

He spent years living in Dublin, where he received his Ph.D. and “secretly began writing,” and London before returning to the United States in 1979, launching his full-time career as a novelist.

“One lives through so much, and after a while things sort of settle down, and most of what one wishes for is a long calm continuance, with work and love, friendship and art, clear-headedness, laughter, and an unbroken awareness of how fragile and threatened any such blessedness must be,” he concluded his bio.

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