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Ray Bradbury: Los Angeles mourns 'cherished' literary icon

June 6, 2012 |  2:27 pm

Click for more photos of Ray Bradbury

Los Angeles on Thursday was mourning author Ray Bradbury, who was remembered as a local literary icon who never forgot his roots.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa described Bradley as a "beloved Angeleno and one of our most celebrated modern authors."

"Mr. Bradbury created fantasies, mysteries, and short stories that brought science fiction into the mainstream. With more than 27 novels and 600 short stories to his name, he left an impressive legacy," the mayor said in a statement. "He was cherished by his fans, peers and fellow Angelenos. His literary legend will surely live on in his work and our memories. My thoughts are with Mr. Bradbury’s friends and family at this difficult time."

PHOTOS: Ray Bradbury | 1920 - 2012

Bradbury died Tuesday night in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Congdon confirmed. His family said in a statement that he had suffered from a long illness. He was 91.

Author of novels including "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451," "Dandelion Wine" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes,"  Bradbury has frequently been credited with elevating the often-maligned reputation of science fiction. Some say he singlehandedly helped to move the genre into the realm of literature.

Much of Bradbury's accessibility and ultimate popularity had to do with his gift as a stylist — his ability to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity.

After a series of moves, the Bradbury family settled in Los Angeles in 1934. Ray dabbled in drama and journalism, fell in love with the movies and periodically sent jokes to the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show. He read constantly and his writing output steadily increased and improved. While at Los Angeles High, Bradbury became involved with the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, where he met and got critiques of his work from science-fiction writers Robert Heinlein, Henry Kuttner and Jack Williamson.

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2012

Though he didn't drive, Bradbury could often be spotted out and about in Los Angeles. A familiar figure with a wind-blown mane of white hair and heavy, black-framed glasses, he'd browse the stacks of libraries and bookstores, his bicycle leaning against a store front or pole just outside.

A stroke in late 1999 slowed but didn't stop him.

He began dictating his work over the phone to one of his daughters, who helped to transcribe and edit. In 2007 he began pulling rare or unfinished pieces from his archives. "Now and Forever," a collection of "Leviathan '99" and "Somewhere a Band Is Playing," was published in 2007 and "We'll Always Have Paris Stories" in 2009.


Author Ray Bradbury dies at 91

Ray Bradbury, idol -- and friend

Ray Bradbury was a huge influence on the film world

— Lynell George

Photo: Ray Bradbury and his wife, Marguerite, or "Maggie," at their home in 1970. Credit: Los Angeles Times