Irving Stone (1903-1989) was born in San Francisco on July 14, 1903. He wrote several books in a genre that he coined the "biographical novel," which recount the lives of well-known historical figures. In these novels, Stone interspersed biography with fictional narrative on the psychology and private lives of his subjects. He would extensively research for his books. For example, he spent many years living in Italy while working on The Agony and the Ecstasy, a book about Michelangelo. The Italian government lauded Stone with several honorary awards during this period for his cultural achievements highlighting Italian history.
In the 1960s, Stone received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern California, where he had previously earned a Masters Degree from the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.
Stone enjoyed a long marriage to his wife, Jean Stone, who also edited many of his works. The Stones lived primarily in Los Angeles, California. During their lifetime, Stone and his wife funded a foundation to support charitable causes they believed in. He died August 26, 1989.
Some of Stone's important works include:
- Lust for Life (1934) - based on the life of Vincent van Gogh
- Adversary in the House (1947) - based on the life of Eugene V. Debs
- The Agony and the Ecstasy - (1961) - based on the life of Michelangelo
- The Passions of the Mind (1971) - based on the life of Sigmund Freud
- Greek Treasure - (1975) based on the discovery of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann
- Origin (1980) - based on the life of Charles Darwin
- For the Defense - based on the life of Clarence Darrow
- Those Who Love - based on the life of John Adams
- Sailor on Horseback - based on the life of Jack London.
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