John Irving

John Irving

Highest Rated: 75% The World According to Garp (1982)

Lowest Rated: 71% The Cider House Rules (1999)

Birthday: Mar 2, 1942

Birthplace: Not Available

After years of struggling in literary anonymity, novelist John Irving became that rare kind of writer: a creator of serious fiction whose work enjoyed both popularity and critical acclaim, and whose fame blossomed even more when his books began to be made into films -- even if the final onscreen products achieved only varying degrees of success. Born in 1942 in Exeter, NH, he attended the Phillips Exeter Academy (where his stepfather taught Russian history), a well-known New England prep school that eventually served as the model for the Steering School in The World According to Garp. While there, Irving discovered two of his great loves -- and, ultimately, literary metaphors: writing and wrestling. After graduation, he spent a year at the University of Pittsburgh before moving to Vienna, a setting that would find a place in many of his later stories. Irving traveled around Europe on a motorcycle, lived a bohemian lifestyle, and, at one point, met a man with a trained bear, an animal that would also become an important figure in a number of his tales. After returning to the U.S., Irving graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1965 and moved on to graduate school at the University of Iowa, where he studied with author Kurt Vonnegut and began work on his first novel. Irving received his M.F.A. in 1967 and returned to New England with his wife Shyla and son Colin; Setting Free the Bears was published the following year. Although it was critically well received, it sold less than 7,000 copies. Nevertheless, the money allowed the new novelist to buy a house in Vermont, where he lived until he returned to Vienna for three years (during which time a second son, Brendan, was born). While there, he worked with director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) on a film adaptation of Setting Free the Bears. At one point set to star Orson Welles, Jon Voight, and, later, Al Pacino, the project eventually fell through. Irving returned to the States, where, in 1972, he completed work on his second novel, The Water-Method Man. Drawing heavily on his experiences of living in Vienna, being a graduate student in Iowa, and exposure to the film industry with Kershner, this book also met with good reviews, but didn't sell much better than his first work. Irving spent the next three years as writer-in-residence and visiting lecturer back at the University of Iowa and contributed pieces to various magazines, but grew restless, bored, and sick of teaching. During this dark period, he published his third novel, The 158-Pound Marriage. Although his best-reviewed work to date, it nevertheless proved to be his worst seller. Tired of Iowa, Irving moved back to New England in 1975, continued to teach, and signed with a new publisher, E.P. Dutton; the first book he published with that company would change his life forever. In 1978, The World According to Garp became a huge commercial and critical success (selling more than 100,000 copies in hardcover), and Irving was suddenly both a famous, respected literary figure and a best-selling author. Garp was later made into a feature film starring Robin Williams and Glenn Close, both relative-newcomers at the time. Released in 1982, the movie by George Roy Hill (who also made Slaughterhouse Five from Vonnegut's novel -- another difficult adaptation) was received well. The book's success and Irving's new celebrity status had also allowed him to retire from teaching and devote his time to writing. His next novel, The Hotel New Hampshire, was published in 1981 and had an initial printing of 150,000 copies. Unlike Garp, however, the film adaptation on this book, Irving's fifth, was a star-studded affair. Featuring Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges, Rob Lowe, and Nastassja Kinski (who spends most of the film in a bear suit), the The Hotel New Hampshire film in 1984 was also a disaster -- even Irving gingerly distanced himself from it -- and left many of the author's fans wondering how such an awful film could have b

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet An Evening With John Irving Actor 2012
No Score Yet Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project Actor 2011
71% The Cider House Rules Screenwriter 1999
No Score Yet A Moment in Time Actor 1984
75% The World According to Garp Referee 1982


No Score Yet The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
Guest 2016
No Score Yet The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Guest 2005
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
Guest 2000
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Derek 1956


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