Charles Beaumont

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Charles Beaumont (January 2, 1929 – February 21, 1967) was a prolific American author of speculative fiction, including short stories in the horror and science fiction subgenres. He is remembered as a writer of classic Twilight Zone episodes, such as "The Howling Man", "Miniature", and "Printer's Devil", but also penned the screenplays for several films, among them 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The Intruder and The Masque of the Red Death. As best-selling novelist Dean R. Koontz has said, "[Charles Beaumont was] one of the seminal influences on writers of the fantastic and macabre." Beaumont is also the subject of a documentary, Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone's Magic Man, by Jason V Brock.

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Life and work

Beaumont was born Charles Leroy Nutt in Chicago, to Charles H. and Letty Nutt. His mother is known to have dressed him in girls' clothes, and once threatened to kill his dog to punish him. These early experiences inspired the celebrated short story "Miss Gentilbelle", but according to Beaumont, "Football, baseball and dimestore cookie thefts filled my early world." School did not hold his attention, and his last name exposed him to ridicule, so he found solace as a teenager in science fiction. He dropped out of high school in tenth grade to join the army. He also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, disc jockey, usher and dishwasher before selling his first story to Amazing Stories in 1950.

"Charles Beaumont" is the name of the villain in White Zombie (1932) who hires a zombie master (Lugosi) to accomplish his nefarious purpose.

In 1954, Playboy magazine selected his story "Black Country" to be the first work of short fiction to appear in its pages. It was also at about this time that Beaumont started writing for television and film.

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