John Ernst Steinbeck, born February 27, 1902 in Salinas California is one of the most widely read authors in the US. He graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University. He worked as a sales clerk, farm laborer, and factory worker. In 1925 he traveled by freight to New York to begin work as a construction worker. His first novel Cup of Gold was published in 1929.
During the 1930s Steinbeck wrote To a God Unknown, Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. The Grapes of Wrath earn him a Pulitzer Prize. Steinbeck wrote the screenplay Viva Zapata (1952) and more than 17 of his novels have been made into movies. Steinbeck received three Academy Award nominations and he won the Noble Prize for Literature in 1962. In 1964 President Johns awarded Steinbeck the United Sates Medal of Freedom and he was commemorated on an US postage stamp.
Steinbeck was married three times. Once to Elaine Anderson (from December 1950 until his death, Gwendolyn Conger (three children, and Carol Henning from January 1930 until March 1943.
Steinbeck was denied a military commission in WWII because of his left-wing politics. He served the war effort as a propagandist and a journalist. Steinbeck was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Lifeboat (1944) A Medal for Benny (1945) and Viva Zapata! (1942). He received the 1977 Joseph Jefferson Citation for Play Production from the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago Illinois for his play Of Mice and Men.