William Saroyan was born to Armenak and Takoohi Saroyan on August 31, 1908, in Fresno. Saroyan’s father died in 1911, forcing his mother to go to work as a servant. William and his siblings lived in an orphanage in Oakland until 1916. In that year, Takoohi and her children were able to move together to the “Armenian town” section of Fresno.
William and his siblings all held various jobs to help support the family upon their return to Fresno. William’s experience in school was tumultuous; he had many discipline problems and eventually left school at the age of fifteen. Saroyan worked a variety of jobs over the years, while also working towards a career in writing. Some of his earliest work was published in Overland Monthly. His breakthrough came in 1934, when Story magazine published The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.
William Saroyan is recognized as one of the most prominent writers of the 20th Century. He wrote about Armenian Americans and life as an immigrant in the Central San Joaquin Valley. He was awarded, but declined, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940 (for The Time of Your Life) and received the Academy Award for Best Story in 1943. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1979.
Half of William Saroyan’s ashes are buried in Plot 3, Lot 299 E ½, Grave 2 and half are interred in Yerevan, Armenia, at the Komitas Pantheon. His daughter, Lucy Saroyan, also is buried in Plot 3, Lot 299 E ½, Grave 2 of Ararat Armenian Cemetery.
To learn more about William Saroyan, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Saroyan