By: Marquez Johnson
Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein, was an American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in some works
Born: September 25, 1930
Died: May 10, 1999,
EDUCATION: Roosevelt University
Shel Silverstein was born into a Jewish family. He attended Roosevelt High School and, later, the University of Illinois, from which he was expelled. He then attended Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and Roosevelt University for three years, until in 1953 when he was drafted into the United States Army. He served in Japan and Korea. He had one daughter, Shoshanna Jordan Hastings, born June 30, 1970, with Susan Taylor Hastings of Sausalito, California.Susan died on June 29, 1975, one day before Shoshanna's fifth birthday, and Shoshanna died April 24, 1982, at age 11, of a cerebral aneurysm. He also had a son named Matthew, born November 10, 1983, with Sarah Spencer ofKey West, Florida; Sarah drove the conch train and inspired Shel's song "The Great Conch Train Robbery." On May 10, 1999, Silverstein died of a massive heart attack in Key West. His body was found by two housekeepers. He died at age 68. He is buried in Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, Illinois.
Silverstein began drawing at age 12 by tracing the works of Al Capp. He told Publishers Weekly: "When I was a kid—12 to 14, around there—I would much rather have been a good baseball player or a hit with the girls, but I couldn't play ball. I couldn't dance. Luckily, the girls didn't want me. Not much I could do about that. So I started to draw and to write. I was also lucky that I didn't have anybody to copy, be impressed by. I had developed my own style; I was creating before I knew there was a Thurber, a Benchley, a Price and a Steinberg. I never saw their work till I was around 30. By the time I got to where I was attracting girls, I was already into work, and it was more important to me. Not that I wouldn't rather make love, but the work has become a habitt.