Maurice Sendak – illustrator and author
Maurice Sendak was an American children’s author and illustrator. A picture book Where the Wild Things Are (1963) brought him worldwide fame. More than 80 children’s books were written or illustrated by Sendak.
Maurice Bernard Sendak was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. He was born into a Jewish family. His parents, Philip (Pinhos) Sendak and Sarah Schindler, emigrated from Poland and Russia (respectively) in 1913 and settled in Brooklyn. He was the youngest son in the family. Along with his sister Natalie, and brother, Jack, he grew up in a poor section of Brooklyn. As a child Maurice drew pictures and wrote stories. At the age of twelve while watching cartoon Fantasia Maurice decided to become an illustrator. After high school he trained at an art school in New York City.
The first collection of stories was released in 1951, and in 1963 he published his most popular book, Where the Wild Things Are, which was republished in dozens of countries.
He illustrated a series of books for children Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik.
In 1995 animated series Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear based on his illustrations were released in Canada (39 episodes).
In the 1970s Sendak turned his talents to television and theater. He created opera versions of some of his stories, and he designed sets for the stage.
In 1999, together with the writer and director Arthur Yorinks, Sendak participated in the creation of a play A Selection, dedicated to the Holocaust.
In 2003, he played a cameo role of an elderly rabbi in the series Angels in America, filmed on the script of his friend, writer Tony Kushner. In the same year he released his father’s book In Grandpa’s House. The book was translated from Yiddish and contained his own illustrations.
In 2009, a film Where the Wild Things Are, based on Sendak’s story, was premiered.
Maurice Sendak died on May 8, 2012 in Danbury.
Sendak had numerous awards for his work. In 1964 he was awarded Caldecott Medal for his book Where the Wild Things Are. In 1970 he received Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s book illustration; National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for the book Outside Over There in 1982; Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1983; National Medal of Arts in 1996; and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003.
Sendak was a gay, though he never advertised it. His confession was published in a 2008 article published in The New York Times. It happened after the death of his partner, psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, who died of lung cancer in May 2007. Their relationship lasted 50 years. The parents of the writer did not know about his orientation. He didn’t want to speak about it openly because it could damage his popularity as a children’s author.