'Flowers for Algernon' author Daniel Keyes dies at 86

Carolyn Kellogg

11:31 AM EDT, June 18, 2014


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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