Louis "Studs" Terkel (May 16, 1912 – October 31, 2008) was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. Turkel received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for "The Good War".
He is well known for his oral histories of everyday Americans, and for his long-running Chicago radio show.
Life and works
Terkel was born May 16, 1912. He was born Louis Terkel to Russian-Jewish immigrants in New York City, a tailor and a circus performer, but he moved to Chicago at age eight, where his family operated a rooming house. He received a law degree from the University of Chicago law school, but rather than practice law, he worked as a concierge, then joined a theater group, then worked doing miscellaneous radio tasks on Chicago's WFMT. From 1949 to 1953, he performed a radio show called "Studs' Place," about a greasy-spoon diner, but his show was blacklisted and taken off the air. He returned to radio in 1958 with "The Studs Terkel Show," where he interviewed such famous musicians as Bob Dylan and Leonard Bernstein.
During the 1960s, he used a tape recorder to interview random people, from the unemployed to corporate executives, and he gathered these interviews in Division Street: America (1967), which was a highly praised work of oral history consisting of transcripts of conversations. His other works include Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970), Working (1974), American Dreams: Lost and Found (1980), the Pulitzer Prize winner The Good War: An Oral History of World War II (1985), and The Great Divide: Second Thoughts on the American Dream (1988).
He died on October 31, 2008, in Chicago.
- "Terkel, Studs." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.