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Richard Yates
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    (February 3, 1926-November 7, 1992)
    Born in Yonkers, New York
    Wrote the novels ‘Revolutionary Road’ (1961), ‘A Special Providence’ (1969), ‘Disturbing the Peace’ (1975), ‘The Easter Parade’ (1976), ‘Young Hearts Crying’ (1984) and ‘Cold Spring Harbor’ (1986)
    Short story collections include ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ (1962) and ‘Liars in Love’ (1981)
    Inspiration for the character of Alton Benes, Elaine Benes’ father, in the Seinfeld episode ‘The Jacket’
    Episode based on an awkward encounter between Yates and ‘Seinfeld’ co-creator Larry David when David was dating Yates’ daughter, Monica
    He was married twice and divorced twice.
    He was bipolar.
    During a Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont, he ran about naked, claiming he was the Messiah (1962).
    Despite critical praise, his novels never sold well, with ‘Esquire’ calling him ‘one of America’s least famous great writers.’
    He remained a heavy smoker even after he needed an oxygen mask to breathe.
    According to grad students that he watched the show with, he sat through ‘The Jacket’ stone faced, then announced ‘I’d like to kill that son of a bitch.’
    He served with the Army in Europe during World War II.
    He was a speechwriter for Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
    His short story collection ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ was described as ‘the New York equivalent of [James Joyce’s] ‘Dubliners.’’
    He was praised as one of the greatest writers of his generation by Kurt Vonnegut, William Styron and Tennessee Williams.
    According to his daughter Monica, he actually liked ‘The Jacket,’ but decided to play to the audience of grad students by acting as curmudgeonly as Alton Benes.

Credit: C. Fishel

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