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Ken Elton Kesey Edit Profile

journalist , writer

Kenneth Elton "Ken" Kesey was an American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s.

Background

Ken Kesey, the older of two sons, was born on September 17, 1935, in La Junta, Colorado. In 1946 the family moved to Springfield, Oregon, where Kesey spent several years on his family's farm. He was raised in a religious household where he developed a great appreciation for Christian fables and a Christian ethical system.

Education

Kesey also enjoyed physical sports like boxing and racing, and was active in both wrestling and football at Springfield (Eugene's adjacent city) high school. His classmates voted him most likely to succeed. Kesey's accomplishments and interests expanded far beyond the outdoors and physical sports. Kesey decorated sets for assemblies and plays, wrote skits, and won an award for best thespian. He also had a fascination with magic that extended to ventriloquism and hypnotism.

Kesey was an active student at the University of Oregon, participating in the theater, sports, and fraternities. Academically, his major directed his energies toward acting and writing for television and radio. He won a second thespian award at college, and wrote several drama and documentary scripts for a course offered by Dean Starlin. Kesey simultaneously pursued his love of sports, eventually earning a Fred Lowe Scholarship in wrestling.

Interests

  • Writers

    John Wayne, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Zane Grey

  • Other Interests

    magic, ventriloquism, and hypnotism

Connections

father:
Frederick A. Kesey

mother:
Geneva Smith

son:
Jed

son:
Zane

son:
Shannon

daughter:
Sunshine

friend:
Ken Babbs

friend:
Larry McMurtry

friend:
Wendell Berry

friend:
Ed McClanahan

friend:
Gurney Norman

friend:
Robert Stone