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, the son of an American soldier and a German mother, was born on 16 August 1920, in Andernacht, Germany. His family moved to Los Angeles in 1922. he attended Los Angeles City College, where he took journalism classes, but abandoned in 1941 to travel across America and made a living out of small jobs, like lift operator, truck driver, worker in a dog food factory etc. In 1944 he published his first story in Story magazine. Same year, he returned to Los Angels, where he met Janet Cooney Baker, whom he lived with for 10 years. In 1955 he was admitted to thee hospital with an alcohol-induced bleeding ulcer.
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