Horror Master Stephen King Turns 71, Shows No Signs Of Slowing Down

One of the greatest genre novelists in history celebrates his birthday amidst a steady stream of projects and controversy.

Closeup of Stephen King during a book signing
Evan Agostini / Getty Images

One of the greatest genre novelists in history celebrates his birthday amidst a steady stream of projects and controversy.

Believe it or not, Stephen King couldn’t afford a telephone in 1973 when the then 26-year-old sold his first novel, Carrie. In the 45 years since then, the author has gone on to become one of the top-selling writers in the world with more than 350 million copies sold. After almost 60 novels and a virtually endless list of adaptations in multiple formats, the prolific King of Horror celebrates his 71st birthday today with zero signs of slowing down.

Stephen King’s latest hit, the Hulu series Castle Rock, combined elements of some of his most popular stories with an entirely new storyline. It also brought back IT actor Bill Skarsgard in one of the lead roles and sparked a lot of fan theories. As Mental Floss pointed out, Skarsgard’s Castle Rock character, The Kid, hasn’t aged in 27 years, which is the exact amount of time that passes between each of Pennywise’s major attacks.

Never one to rest on his laurels, King has released two novels during the past year, including one he co-wrote with his son, Owen King. Big horror fans will also know that King has another son, Joe Hill, who is carving his own path through the genre.

Per Boston.com, the Maine native currently has 11 other adaptations in production, along with 42 titles that are in the development stage. The next three films on the docket include a remake of Pet Semetary, IT: Chapter Two, and Doctor Sleep, which is the long-awaited sequel to The Shining and stars Ewan McGregor in the role of the grown-up Danny.

When the birthday boy isn’t bringing new terrors to life, he spends a considerable amount of time making controversial political posts on Twitter. As far back as 2015, Stephen King issued harsh online rebukes to Donald Trump. In one tweet, King proposed that Trump’s campaign slogan should be: “If you’re white, you’re all right. Any other hue, I don’t trust you.”

More recently, Stephen King has used his considerable social media platform to tell his 4.93 million followers about his environmental concerns regarding “Richard ‘Red Tide Rick’ Scott” and the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

King’s macabre sense of humor is also constantly on display online. For example, he acknowledged his birthday by tweeting, “On the whole, I’d rather be 71 than dead.” The genre he helped bring into the mainstream undoubtedly feels the same way, especially as it celebrates King’s 71st year by enjoying massive box office success. As The New York Times reported, 2017 was horror’s biggest year ever. Just like Stephen King, the horror industry appears poised to keep breaking records and winning over mainstream audiences; thanks, in large part, to King’s tireless efforts.