Edward Gorey birthday: E is for Edward, extremely eccentric

Feb. 22, 2013 | 1:12 p.m.

Artist Edward Gorey, shown in 1987, had a deep love of the macabre. His morbid black-and-white illustrations had a huge fan following. (Associated Press)

Edward Gorey's handiwork was seen in "Mystery!" on PBS. The image was on display at the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port, Mass., in 2002. (Associated Press)

Another image from Gorey's work featured on "Mystery!" (Associated Press)

A drawing by Edward Gorey from "The Other Statue," included in the collection "Amphigorey Again." (Harcourt Inc.)

This pen-and-ink drawing is from "The Gashlycrumb Tinies." (Associated Press)

This image shows a pen-and-ink drawing from the "Osbick Bird," and was part of the exhibition "Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey" at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa. (Associated Press)

The cover of "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)

A page from "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)

Another page from "Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert & The Deadly Blotter" by Edward Gorey. (The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust)

Edward Gorey, an artist who injected glee into gruesome and mirth into the macabre, is the recipient of a Google Doodle.

Gorey, who would have been 88, was known for his offbeat artistry  — he won a cult following with his eerie, yet droll pen-and-ink drawings, writing and illustrating dozens of his own books. Animation of his work introduced the PBS show “Mystery!” for decades, and he won a Tony for costume design in 1977 for a Broadway production of “Dracula.”

Gorey was also known for his eccentricities — which began at an early age.

As a 5-year-old, he read Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” he told author Ron Miller in 1996. As a youngster, he also taught himself how to draw.  From a young age, “his passion was creating his own bizarre stories and illustrating them.”

Gorey was an admitted fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The X-Files,” among other shows. And he was known for his love of cats, sneakers and ballet.

As the Los Angeles Times wrote in Gorey’s obituary in 2000, for 35 years he attended every performance of the New York Ballet wearing his signature fur coat, ski scarf and high-topped tennis shoes.

Among Gorey’s best-known works was his rhyming alphabet book, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies,” which featured a childhood death for each letter: “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs / B is for Basil assaulted by bears.”

Horror writer Clive Barker, of “Hellraiser” fame, has honored Gorey with his own take on “Gashlycrumb,” reportedly created in conjunction with artist Paulo Andreas Orca. Barker ratchets up the gruesome in his version.  “C is for Claus who was born with no bowels.”

Barker has unveiled the cartoons slowly, and from his Facebook account he appears to be up to “O.”  “O is for Otto, who had a thirst hard to slake, thus Otto got blotto and drowned in a lake.”

Gorey, when interviewed in 1998 by the Los Angeles Times, was asked why so many children met untimely ends in his works.

“Oh well,” he said, “children are the easiest targets.”

He also once said: “To take my work seriously would be the height of folly.”

His work lives on in such posthumous books as “Amphigorey Again” and “Thoughtful Alphabets: The Just Dessert and The Deadly Blotter.”

– Amy Hubbard


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15 Responses to Edward Gorey birthday: E is for Edward, extremely eccentric

  1. Frank Paiano says:

    The Beastly Baby — The Hapless Child — The Curious Sofa — This man totally distorted by younger years! Thank you so much Mr. Gorey!

  2. Hamy Aubbard says:

    Good bless this man, he made my childhood as macabre and gleeful as any child could want.

  3. Kerry Frank says:

    Love Google Doodles…always lead down the most interesting paths…:)

  4. Joshua says:

    There is only one thing I gleaned from this article. I need to go on Amazon and find that coat.

  5. esther says:


  6. Lana says:

    The coat (one of many) is on display in his old house in Yarmouth Ma. The house has been transformed into a Gorey museum of sorts. He was an extremely tall man. I hope it fits! ;)

  7. bee says:

    G is for Gorey who is no morey.
    Thank you for your books.

  8. T. GILLIAM says:

    Love the google artist. I have google as homepage so the first thing I see is the Google art. thanks

  9. L. Jones says:

    LOVED HIS show at the McNay Museum in San Antonio several years ago!!!

  10. Acoustic Bob says:

    As a small child we loved his book of poems "You Read To Me, I'll Read To You." It alternated easy-to-read poems meant for the child to read aloud, and more difficult ones for an adult to read to the child.
    One can only imagine what he's up to now in the afterlife!

  11. Lily says:

    The man was great, but he died the day I was born. Also, the power went out when I was born, no joke. And, I have seen something. 2 of my friends dads died, each after me seeing them walking 1 day or 1 week before. Abraham Lincoln also died April 15. I know this barely has anything to do with gorey, but his death day was the day I was born… :(



  13. jim justiliano says:

    extremely eccentric get out!!!!!!!

  14. james justiliano says:

    extremely eccentric, a star in a black sky we know it but hide from it.

  15. Eden Cross says:

    Since I first laid eyes on "The Doubtful Guest", I've adored his humor! While some may find him somewhat macabre, his buoyant, off-the-wall humor goes far beyond traditional tongue-in-cheek…. droll, dry, erudite — probably considered a nerd of sorts, in his day… delightful ever, in my book . A, a, a aCHOO!

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