Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died yesterday at the age of 91 after a long illness in Los Angeles.
Bradbury, best known as the author of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451” (as well as 27 novels and more than 600 short stories) lived and wrote for many of his formative years here in Venice Beach.
Picture by Venetian Jonathan Alcorn
Bradbury moved to 670 South Venice in 1942 when his parents rented a house next door to the brick electrical power house building that belonged to the utility company Bradbury’s father worked for. It was in the garage of 670, where Bradbury had set up a writing table in his early 20’s, that most of the stories that became The Martian Chronicles were written as well as the short story “The Fog Horn”.
“Every noon for several years I swam in the ocean,” Bradbury told Preservation magazine, “and then when I came out, I was refreshed and went and wrote in my garage-office.”
The Bradbury family moved to a larger home in Mandeville Canyon to raise their four daughters, but Venice was always dear to Bradbury’s heart and he continued to write about it. Bradbury’s 1985 novel “Death is a Lonely Business” uses old Venice as a backdrop for much of the action.
In his later years Bradbury was instrumental in helping preservationists restore the colonnades of Venice, allowing the Venice Historical Society to use his name in the “Ray Bradbury Adopt-a-Colonnade Restoration Project“. The project helped restore some 27 columns at the expense of $2,500 each.
Unfortunately, preservationists were unable to save the 750-square-foot craftsman style bungalow at 670 South Venice and garage that Bradbury wrote in, which was razed in order to build the new “east wing” brick gallery building for L&M Arts. 33 South Venice still stands today, with the addition of a 2nd story.
RIP Ray Bradbury, Venice OG