Peter Straub, Iconic Horror Novelist, Dies at 79: 'It's a Sad Day'

·3 min read
Peter Straub
Peter Straub

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Peter Straub, an award-winning novelist known for penning the 1975 supernatural story Julia and working alongside friend Stephen King on The Talisman, has died. He was 79.

The famed horror writer died on Sunday, his daughter Emma Straub shared in a lengthy Twitter tribute thread. His wife Susan Straub confirmed to The New York Times his death stemmed from hip complications.

"We read together at the Poetry Project, at BookCourt, at Barnes and Noble, probably other places that I'm forgetting," Emma, also an author, shared on Twitter. "His delight in my career, and his total belief in me, is a buoy that I will hold onto for the rest of my life."

American horror writer Peter Straub
American horror writer Peter Straub

Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

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Through his 17 different novels, several short story collections, and additional novellas, Straub's other notable works included 1979's Ghost Story, and 2001's The Talisman sequel Black House. Julia and Ghost Story were adapted to film, with 1977's The Haunting of Julia starring Mia Farrow. Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas and John Houseman starred in Ghost Story four years later.

Outside his work, the Wisconsin-born Straub was notably hit by a car at age 7, resulting in his relearning how to walk. He went on to earn his Master's degree from Columbia University after studying English at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison.

His friend and collaborator King took to Twitter on Tuesday, the day his new book Fairy Tale was released, to share his mixed emotions of the moment.

"It's a sad day because my good friend and amazingly talented colleague and collaborator, Peter Straub, has passed away," King wrote via Twitter. "Working with him was one of the great joys of my creative life."

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The iconic author released his final novel A Dark Matter in 2010 and his final novella The Process (is a Process All its Own) in 2017. A Dark Matter won a Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, of which Straub collected several of during his career.

Emma remembered her father as a lover of jazz music, a man with a sweet tooth, and a surprise soap opera actor with a recurring role in One Life to Live. Emma's book This Time Tomorrow, as she explained on Twitter, was "all about him dying," and revolved around "every bit of my love for him."

"That book, and our mutual understanding, meant that when he died, I didn't doubt for a second that he knew how grateful I was to be his, and vice versa," she wrote.

Straub is survived by wife, Susan, and their two children.