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Sample Autograph Signature: William Saroyan

American author of plays and short stories. William Saroyan (Aug 31 1908 - May 18, 1981) had his roots in his Armenian heritage, and his heart firmly in the highlands. From his first collection of short stories, The Flying Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, and other Stories (1934), Saroyan found instant fame in his late twenties. He followed up this brilliant collection with the play The Time of Your Life (1939), which won The New York Drama Critic's Award and a Pulitzer Prize; and then the script and later the novel of The Human Comedy (1943), which MGM made into a heart-warming classic with Mickey Rooney as a Postal Telegraph messenger boy who delivered heart-breaking telegrams to service families on his bicycle. Saroyan was unhappy to be drafted into the formal regimentation of the U.S. Army - he was always more of a free spirit - but managed not only to write a full-length novel during his stint in the service but also a second book about the writing of the first book. The author was amazingly prolific and believed that a play should take no longer to write than it would to actually perform, and could knock out award-winning plays in a weekend. One publisher told him he needed to flesh out a short story collection with a 'few more'. Saroyan returned the next morning with 16 new stories written the night before! His stories were often optimistic, heartbreaking, comical or sad. But always achingly human. Saroyan also wrote a smash hit song in the 1950's for Rosemary Clooney with his cousin Ross Bagdaserian who would later create "Alvin and the Chipmunks", which he voiced with his wife and some sped-up tapes. It was called "Come On-a My House". He married, had two children - a boy named Aram and a girl named Lucy: by most accounts he was an unenthusiastic sometimes cold spouse and parent, choosing to live upstairs on a separate floor from the family as he continued to write. When he divorced, his former wife Carol married Walter Matthau. Saroyan once said that when you laugh, laugh loud. When you cry, cry hard. Live life to the fullest was his maxim. He also advised future writers that it was better to write something, anything, down on paper, even if its worthless, than to sit and think and hope someday to write something worthwhile. He had cabled a message to AP to be released upon his death that read "Everybody has got to die but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?" He was cremated and buried in Fresno and in Armenia. Every year there is a Saroyan festival as his work continues to inspire around the globe. In addition to the above, he wrote the following novels and memoirs: The Summer of the Beautiful White Horse (1938), My Name is Aram (1940), The Adventures of Wesley Jackson (1946), Rock Wagram (1951), One Day in the Afternoon (1964), The Man With the Heart in the Highlands and other stories (1968), Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon (1970), Places Where I've Done Time (1972), Obituaries (1979), Births (1983), My Name is Saroyan (1983), An Armenian Trilogy (3 plays) (1986), and Madness in the Family (1988). His other plays include My Heart's in the Highlands (1939), Hello Out There! (1941), Across the Board on Tomorrow Morning (1941), The Beautiful People (1941), and The Cave Dwellers (1958).

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