Biographic by Steve McGarry for December 15, 2013
Biographic Steve McGarry J.R.R. Tolkein John Ronald Reuel Tolkein was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on January 3, 1892. Raised in England, he was an orphan by the age of 12, after which he and his younger brother were made the wards of a local priest. Educated at Oxford University, he served as an army officer in World War I before embarking on a distinguished academic career, eventually becoming an Oxford Professor. "The Hobbit, " a story he wrote for his children, was published in 1937 and found favor with old and young alike. "The Lord of the Rings" took 12 years to write and was published in three volumes in the mid-1950s. A decade later, The Beatles tried to acquire the movie rights, envisioning Paul as Frodo, John as Gollum, George as Gandalf and Ringo as Sam. J.R.R. Tolkein died in 1973 at the age of 81. A number of his other stories were published posthumously, including "The Silmarillion," adding to his standing as the father of fantasy literature. Following low-budget animated films in the late 1970s, Tolkein's epic tales of middle-Earth were brought to the screen in the early 2000s. Director Peter Jackson created a trio of "Lord of the Rings" movies that generated billions of dollars worldwide. The huge success of those movies led to "The Hobbit" being similarly adapted into a big-budget trilogy, of which the second installment is destined to dominate the box office around the globe this holiday season.