"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is a novel written in 1962 by the author Ken Kesey. Kesey wrote the novel while working as an orderly in a psychiatric ward and participating in experimental LSD trails. The novel was a huge success and has since been adapted into a Broadway play in 1963 and a […]
Kenneth Elton Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado in 1935. The son of dairy farmers, when he was just a boy his family moved to Springfield, Oregon. Kesey graduated from the University of Oregon in 1957 and enrolled in the creative writing program at Stanford University in 1958. In the early 1960's, Kesey became a volunteer subject for drug studies at Stanford. Primarily studies on the effects of LSD. During this time, aided while working at a Veteran’s hospital, Kesey wrote his best-known work, "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest".
The book made him a successful author and he continued to dabble in psychoactive drugs using the money from his fame. In 1965 Kesey was arrested for marijuana possession and fled to Mexico after faking a suicide. Eight months later he returned to the U.S and was arrested again. He then served out his jail term.
Kesey's second novel, "Sometimes a Great Notion" was published in 1964. In the early 1970's, the rights to "One Flew" were purchased from Kesey for twenty-thousand dollars. While involved in the production of the movie at first, Kesey later left the set due to a dispute over the money he was paid for the rights and the casting. Kesey later claimed never to have seen the movie after it was made. Despite this, the movie went on to win five Academy Awards and is still considered a classic.
Kesey married a woman named Norma in 1956 and the two went on to have three children, one of whom tragically died young in 1984.
In 1992, Kesey was diagnosed with diabetes and by 1998 he was alleged to be very weak from bad health and old age. In October of 2001, Kesey had surgery to remove a tumor on his liver. He died of complications from the surgery the next month at age 66.