Douglas Noel Adams
Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001)
Douglas Adams was born on 11th March 1952 in Cambridge. He was educated at Brentwood School in Essex, where his schoolmates included Griff Rhys Jones and Paul Neil Milne Johnstone. He then studied English at St John's College, Cambridge, where he joined the Footlights Society, writing (and occasionally performing) as part of a three-man comedy troupe, Adams-Smith-Adams.
He left Cambridge in 1974 and spent a few "wilderness years"contributing occasional comedy sketches to shows such as Week Ending. During this time he also befriended Graham Chapman, writing several unproduced projects and making two brief cameo appearances in the final season of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
His big break came in March 1978 with the broadcast of a six-part science fiction comedy for radio called The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was an immediate smash hit and was followed by a best-selling novel of the same title. Eventually, the Hitch-Hiker's canon would include a further six radio episodes, a six-part TV series, another four novels, dozens of stage productions, a set of comics, a best-selling computer game and no film.
At the same time that he was writing the original Hitch-Hiker's radio series for BBC Radio, Adams was script editor for one season of Doctor Who for BBC TV. He wrote three Doctor Who stories (none of which have ever been novelised).
Apart from the Hitch-Hiker's series, Adams wrote only two other novels: Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and its sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. He also co-wrote a spoof dictionary, the Meaning of Liff (with John Lloyd) and a book on endangered species, Last Chance to See (with Mark Carwardine).
Adams was passionately interested in computers and in 1994 co-founded a company called The Digital Village (later renamed h2g2) which produced the computer game Starship Titanic (novelised by Terry Jones) and the website h2g2.com, now part of the BBC. Other interests included music - especially Procol Harum, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and JS Bach - and charity work for organisations such as Save The Rhino and Comic Relief.
Douglas Adams suffered a fatal heart attack on 11th May 2001 in California.