|The Grapes of Wrath (1940)||$75,000 (film rights)|
John Steinbeck was the third of four children and the only son born to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. His father was County Treasurer and his mother, a former schoolteacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University, leaving in 1925 without a degree. He was variously employed as a sales clerk, farm laborer, ranch hand and factory worker. In 1925, he traveled by freight from Los Angeles to New York, where he was a construction worker. From 1926-1928, he was a caretaker in Lake Tahoe, CA. His first novel, "Cup of Gold," was published in 1929. During the 1930s, he produced most of his famous novels ("To a God Unknown," "Tortilla Flat," "In Dubious Battle," "Of Mice and Men," and his Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Grapes of Wrath"). In 1941, he moved with the singer who would become his second wife to New York City. They had two sons, Thom (b. 1944) and John IV (b. 1946). In 1948, his close friend Ed Ricketts died, he went through a divorce, he took a a tour of Russia, and he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His wrote the screenplay for Viva Zapata! (1952), and 17 of his works have been made into movies. He received three Academy Award nominations. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. US President Lyndon Johnson awarded him the United States Medal of Freedom in 1964, and he was commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp on what would have been his 75th birthday. His ashes lie in Garden of Memories Cemetery in Salinas.