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'Flowers for Algernon' author Daniel Keyes dies at 86

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R.I.P. Daniel Keyes, author of 'Flowers for Algernon'

Daniel Keyes, the author of "Flowers for Algernon," died Tuesday in Florida, the New York Times has reported, from complications from pneumonia. He was 86.

The Brooklyn-born writer published his most famous work first as a novella, which won the Hugo Award, then in 1966 as a novel, which tied for the Nebula Award and sold millions of copies. The story of a mentally disabled man who followed in a test mouse's footsteps to become a genius, only to later lose his mental powers, struck a chord.

"Flowers for Algernon" was made into a television movie and then as the 1968 feature film "Charly"; Cliff Robertson won the lead actor Oscar for his starring role. It was made as a film again in 2000 with Matthew Modine.

Keyes got undergraduate and graduate degrees from Brooklyn College; he taught creative writing at Wayne State in Michigan and Ohio University. He wrote fiction and nonfiction, including the 1999 memoir "Algernon, Charlie and I."

He is survived by a sister and two daughters.

[Correction, 6/18, 10:35am: The original version of this post stated that Keyes taught at Ohio State. He taught at Ohio University.]

 

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