Born November 27, 1909 in Knoxville Tennessee, James Agee had a troubled childhood. At the age of six, his father (Hugh James Agee) died in automobile accident on May 18. This would influence James to make the centerpiece of his carrier, "A death in the family". In 1916, he was sent to a boarding school called "Saint Andrews School for Mountain Boys", and this is where he met Father Flye. James Harold Flye was Episcopal priest who became a friend, mentor, and surrogate parent to James Agee. Father Flye was the one to notice Agee's writing gifts and led him to classic literature and music. He later helped Agee earn a place at the renowned Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and then at Harvard University(graduated from in 1932). He then started working as a journalist for "Fortune Magazine" in New York. Agee then married Via Saunders in 1933. In 1934 he published only one volume of "Permit Me Voyage"(poetry) with Fortune Magazine. James was then given a assignment with photographer Walker Evans in 1936. They were to research about the lives of poor southern families for their article and traveled and lived with families in Tennessee and Alabama. But when Fortune didn't publish the article, Agee changed it to a book called "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men"(which published in 1941). This then led him to write "The Morning Watch" and "Knoxville Summer 1915", which both where about "sensitive depiction of a Tennessee boyhood". James divorced Via and married Alma Mailman in 1938 he then left Fortune Magazine in 1939. Later Alma took their one year-old son, Joel, to Mexico with her to live with writer Bodo Uhse. James then married Mia Fritsch and they had two daughters(Teresa and Andrea) and one son(John). James became a independent writer 1948. He wrote about Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, and Charles Chaplin(silent movie actors) in "Life Magazine". James worked on movie scripts and wrote articles in the 1950's. He was a credited screen writer for "The African Queen" in 1951, "Face to Face" in 1952, and "The Night of the Hunter" in 1954. James had written "The Morning Watch" in 1951, and his most famous, "A Death in the Family", published in 1957. He was a film critic for "The Nation" and "Time" magazines. In 1951, in Santa Barbara, he had his heart attack(his smoking and drinking only made it worse), four years later he would have another one on May 16 (at the age of 45)that would kill him. He was buried at Hillsdale, New York, on a farm he owned.
Sources: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ihas/poet/agee.html, http://www.cityofknoxville.org/parks/history/jamesageehistory.asp,http://www.neh.gov/humanities/2012/julyaugust/feature/let-us-now-praise-james-agee