J.D. Salinger Dead at 91

     January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger.jpgAuthor J.D. Salinger died of natural causes today in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire at age 91.  The notoriously reclusive author was renowned for his limited bibliography, including Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories, and especially Catcher in the Rye.  In exploring the thoughts of rebellious teen Holden Caulfield, Salinger crafted the quintessential literary work on the angst of modern youths.

The influence of Catcher in the Rye has extended deep into the world of cinema, as well.  Since the novel’s 1951 release, any number of films centered on an existential youth owes a debt to the tale of Holden Caulfield, including Rebel Without a Cause, The 400 Blows, The Last Picture Show, Ordinary People, Chasing Amy, Rushmore, The Squid & the Whale, Adventureland and countless others.

Though there has never been a film adaptation, the novel has inspired many attempts by such filmmakers as Sam Goldwyn, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, and Steven Spielberg as well as actors Marlon Brando, Jerry Lewis, Jack Nicholson, Tobey Maguire, and Leonardo DiCaprio.  As a testament to the iconic character’s legacy, John Cusack reportedly lamented, upon turning twenty-one, that he was now too old to play Holden Caulfield.

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