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Joseph Heller Profile Picture

Joseph Heller, most renowned for his satirical novel Catch-22, flew sixty combat missions as a bombardier in World War II. Born in Coney Island, New York in 1923, he graduated from high school and worked at a variety of jobs before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After the war, Heller studied at the University of Southern California and New York University and earned his M.A. in English from Columbia University. A Fulbright scholarship took him to the University of Oxford for a year. Heller then taught composition at Pennsylvania State University and fiction and dramatic writing at Yale University. He also worked as an advertising copywriter, writing novels and stories in his spare time. His most famous work, the novel Catch-22 received mixed reviews when it debuted in 1961. The book is now widely regarded as a classic, has sold tens of millions of copies, and the title has become a commonly used phrase. The film adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Alan Arkin, John Voight, and Orson Welles, was released in 1970. In addition to novels, a memoir, and short stories, Heller was also a screenwriter and playwright, whose play We Bombed in New Haven debuted on Broadway starring Jason Robards. He died in 1999.

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