Obit’s Dead of the Day: Ken Kesey (September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001)

Ken Kesey, American author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” passed away at age 66 on this date (Nov 10) in 2001 from the combination of a stroke and liver cancer. He’s best known for his rebellious and outspoken novels “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) and “Sometimes a Great Notion” (1964) – and a number of essays. Describing himself once in an interview, Kesey described himself and his writing style as “too young to be a beatnik, too old to be a hippie.”

Kesey got involved with psychoactive drugs when he volunteered for a CIA financed study looking into the effects of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine and DMT on people. This directly affected his writing – and he served up these drugs at parties he called “Acid Tests” – which served as the basis of Tom Wolfe’s book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” Kesey also took part in the group of friends who called themselves “Merry Pranksters” (Neal Cassady was one), traveling around cross country in a school bus. It was all documented in filmmaker Alex Gibney’s 2011 doc “Magic Trip.”

Ken Kesey

Also passing on November 10 were American novelist Norman Mailer, in 2007 at age 84, and Italian film producer Dino De Laurentis, in 2010 at age 91.




2010 Dino De Laurentiis, Italian film producer (b. 1919)


2007 Norman Mailer, American novelist, dies at 84

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