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Douglas Adams

Biography

English writer of the favorite science fiction series The Hitchhiker’s Guidebook to the Galaxy, which originated like a BBC radio comedy. His additional works are the Very long Dark Tea-Time from the Spirit (1988) and THIS IS of Liff (1983). He went to The Brentwood College, a renowned preparatory academy, and continued to study British at St John’s University, Cambridge. Pursuing his graduation, he shifted to London to go after a profession in tv and radio composing. He was a self-proclaimed atheist. He and his young sister, Susan, had been the kids of Christopher and Janet Adams. He wedded Jane Belson in 1991, as well as the few welcomed their girl, Polly, in 1994, significantly less than ten years before Adams’ untimely loss of life from a coronary attack. He researched piano with Denny Laine, the pianist for Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles music group Wings.

Quick Facts


Full Name Douglas Adams
Date Of Birth March 11, 1952
Died May 11, 2001, Montecito, California, United States
Place Of Birth Cambridge, England
Height 1.96 m
Profession Novelist
Education St John's College, Cambridge, Brentwood School, Essex, University of Cambridge
Nationality English
Spouse Jane Belson
Children Polly Jane Rocket Adams
Parents Janet Adams, Christopher Douglas Adams
Siblings James Thrift, Susan Adams, Jane Thrift, Heather Adams
Nominations Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Movies The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hyperland, Doctor Who - The Five Doctors, Rockstar
TV Shows Hyperland, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently, Out of the Trees
Star Sign Pisces

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1From The Salmon of Doubt: "Douglas had an amazing capacity for procrastination, but more about that later...".
2The Asteroid Apophis, which was classified as a Near Earth Object with a record-breaking Torino Scale rating and thought to be a threat to Earth in 2036(more accurate measurements followed and the threat was scaled down entirely) had the designation 99942. Numerology enthusiasts would notice that that is the UK Emergency Services phone number and the number of the Meaning of Life in quick succession.
3According to ''The Salmon of Doubt'', he once took an impromptu trip to Australia to comparatively test-drive a new underwater vehicle and a sting ray for an article so that he could procrastinate on a book. Similarly, he once hiked up Mt. Kilimanjaro - spending a part of a trip in a rhino suit - for similar purposes.
4Posthumously playing the part of Agrajag in the new "Tertiary Phase" episodes of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" BBC4 radio series (adapted from book 3, "Life, The Universe, and Everything"). This was done by incorporating recordings of him reading his books. [September 2004]
5He was a huge fan of The Beatles and referenced them constantly in his work.
6He was a notorious procrastinator and his editors once had to lock him inside of a hotel room to get him to finish a book.
7Was well-known for his love of technology, especially products by Apple.
8He had been a huge fan of science-fiction series Doctor Who (1963) since its debut and had submitted story ideas to the series which were initially rejected before being accepted to write Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet: Part One (1978).
9He was proud that his initials spelled DNA and used to point it out.
10During a lecture Neil Gaiman told that when he was a guest in Adams' house, he asked "Where are the towels?" and Adams answered "I don't know". Half of the audience sniggered at that, and Gaiman said, "Many of you don't know why it's funny that Adams didn't know where his towels were. Too bad." It was a reference to the towels running joke in Hitchhiker's Guide.
11When he died, his Internet site was flooded by condolence messages, a big amount of whose simply read "So long and thanks for all the fish", one of the catchphrases from the Hitchhiker's Guide. The same sentence is also his gravestone epitaph.
12Doctor Who: City of Death: Part One (1979), the Doctor Who (1963) story he co-wrote with Graham Williams under the pseudonym of David Agnew, is regarded by many fans as one of the best stories in the series' entire run. It was voted the seventh greatest story in a Doctor Who (1963) Magazine poll in 1998 and the fifth greatest Doctor Who (1963) story in fan site Outpost Gallifrey's 40th Anniversary Poll.
13A founding member of the team that launched Comic Relief.
14Adams used to shower with the hot water running, and stay there until he had come up with an idea. His water bill was extremely high.
15Was an early pioneer in the personal computer explosion of the 1980s and 90s. For example, he owned the first two Apple Macintosh computers sold in the UK; was heavily involved in the development of first-person computer games (such as the computer version of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy", "Bureaucracy" and "Starship Titanic"); and was an early adopter of the Internet. For several years, he was actively involved in the Internet newsgroup, alt.fan.douglas-adams, and would often personally answer messages in that forum. However, as the Internet became more popular, the questions became more and more repetitions of the same (or were offensive and/or insulting), and his personal responses became rare.
16The online site H2G2.com was created at his suggestion. The site is a web-based pseudo-encyclopedia, inspired by the style of Adams' fictional Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (hence, HHGG, or H2G2). The site was one of the first "reference" web sites maintained by contributions from the public at large.
17In September 2004, new "Tertiary Phase" episodes of "The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" BBC Radio 4 series debuted. Prior to his death, Adams had begun work with Dirk Maggs on adapting books 3-5 of the "trilogy" for radio. Maggs has taken on the mantle of finishing the writing (based on Adams' extensive notes) and directing the episodes. Phase 4 ("Quandary") began airing in May 2005, with phase 5 ("Quintessential") to follow.
18The on-line translator Babelfish is named after the Babelfish that Adams wrote of in his novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." In "The Hitchhiker's Guide..." the Babelfish was a tiny fish that one puts in one's ear and then any of the galaxy's myriad languages they hear is automatically translated and heard in their native language. The instant messaging software Trillian is named after the lead female character in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
19Stated once that he always found it difficult to write for female characters.
20He was a big fan of the rock band Pink Floyd. At the request of guitarist David Gilmour, he helped come up with a name for a new Pink Floyd album ("The Division Bell"). In exchange, David Gilmour contributed £5000 to a charity of Adams' choice.
21Helped Keith Allen with his piano lessons.
22Was left-handed and had a large collection of left-handed guitars.
23The day before his death (10th May 2001) the Minor Planet Centre of the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 18610 "Arthurdent", after the character Arthur Dent in The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981).
24Died of an apparent heart attack on 11 May 2001; collapsed while working out in a gym.
25Was working on having a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film produced at the time of his death.
26Claimed to have the initial idea for his work, The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981), while lying drunk in a field holding a copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe.
27One daughter, Polly Jane Rocket Adams.
28Studied English Literature at Cambridge University. While at university, he was a member of the prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Club.


Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live2016creator post-production
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective AgencyTV Series based on the books by - 5 episodes, 2016 based upon the novels by - 3 episodes, 2016
Ian Levine: Shada2013Video writer
Dirk GentlyTV Series based on the books by - 3 episodes, 2012 based on "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detecive Agency" by - 1 episode, 2010
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy2005book / screenplay
Doctor Who: Shada2003TV Mini-Series written by - 6 episodes
Starship Titanic1998Video Game
Doctor Who: Shada1992Video by - original material
Hyperland1990TV Movie documentary
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy1984Video Game
Doctor WhoTV Series 5 episodes, 1979 - 1983 by - 8 episodes, 1978 - 1979
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the GalaxyTV Mini-Series radio series - 6 episodes, 1981 written by - 6 episodes, 1981
Not the Nine O'Clock News1979TV Series writer
Doctor Snuggles1979TV Series writer - 2 episodes
Doctor on the Go1977TV Series writer - 1 episode
Out of the Trees1976TV Movie
Monty Python's Flying Circus1974TV Series written by - 1 episode

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Life, the Universe and Douglas Adams2005Video documentary additional footage
Doctor Who: Shada1992Video script editor: original material
Doctor Who1979-1980TV Series script editor - 21 episodes

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Rockstar2000ShortBlack shoe and blue jeans trouser leg
Starship Titanic1998Video GameShorbut Sweet aka Succ-U-Bus / Leovinus
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy1981TV Mini-SeriesMan in Ocean / Man in Pub
Doctor Who1979TV SeriesMan in café
Out of the Trees1976TV MovieThug Attacking Old Lady (uncredited)
Monty Python's Flying Circus1974TV SeriesUlverston Road Pepperpot Dr. Emile Koning - Surgeon

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Rockstar2000Short

Cinematographer

Cinematographer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Rockstar2000Short

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy2005executive producer - posthumous credit

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Greater Evil2015Short special thanks
Closed Lines2014Short in memory of
McCatherine2013thanks
Breakfast Impossible: Series One2011in memory of
Life, the Universe and Douglas Adams2005Video documentary in memory of: 1952-2001 - as Douglas Noel Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy2005dedicatee - as Douglas
Doctor Who: Shada2003TV Mini-Series dedicatee - 1 episode
Dogma1999humble thanks
Horizon1991TV Series documentary thanks - 1 episode

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Top Ten2001TV Series documentaryHimself - Interviewee
Omnibus2001TV Series documentaryHimself
What a Performance!2000TV SeriesHimself
Infinite Mhz1999TV SeriesHimself
The Agenda1996TV SeriesHimself
The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires1996TV Movie documentaryHimself (author)
Cyberspace1996TV SeriesHimself
Cyberpunks and Technophobes1993TV Series documentaryHimself (1993)
The Making of 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'1993Video documentaryHimself
Doctor Who: 30 Years in the Tardis1993TV Movie documentaryHimself
Have I Got News for You1992TV SeriesHimself
The South Bank Show1992TV Series documentaryHimself
The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures1992TV Series documentaryHimself
Growing Up in the Universe1991TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Hyperland1990TV Movie documentaryHimself
Wogan1989TV SeriesHimself
Late Night with David Letterman1985TV SeriesHimself
The Merv Griffin Show1983TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Culture Show2013TV Series documentaryHimself
Comedy Connections2008TV Series documentaryHimself
The Comedy Map of Britain2008TV Series documentaryHimself
Timeshift2007TV Series documentaryHimself
A Matter of Time2007Video documentaryHimself
Parrot Fashion2007Video documentary shortHimself
Paris in the Springtime2005VideoHimself
Don't Crash: The Documentary of the Making of the Movie of the Book of the Radio Series of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'2005Video documentaryHimself
Life, the Universe and Douglas Adams2005Video documentaryHimself
The Very Best of 'Have I Got News for You'2002VideoHimself

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1979HugoHugo AwardsBest Dramatic Presentation· Geoffrey Perkins (producer)


Looks like we don't have salary information. Sorry!


#Quote
1The inventor of the Total Perspective Vortex did it, as is the case with the best of things, to annoy his wife.
2He was a Poet, a Philosopher and a Dreamer. Or, as his wife would have it, an "Idiot".
3Gag Halfrunt, Zaphod's Braincare Specialist: "Zaphod's just this guy, you know?" Vogon Captain: "A personal friend?" Gag Halfrunt: "In my line we don't make personal friends" Vogon Captain: "Professional Detachment?" Gag Halfrunt: "No, we just don't have the knack..."
4Present someone with a clipboard questionnaire and they lie. You'd be amazed how many people out there are the millionaire CEO of their own company.
5Trying to predict the future is a mug's game. But it's a game we increasingly have to play because the World is changing so fast. And we need to have some idea of what the future's going to be like because we're going to have to live there. Probably, next week.
6These people look at a catflap and they say "I could have thought of that!" The point is they didn't, and a very revealing and significant point it is too.
7One of the best ways to keep from being unhappy is not to have a word for it.
8It is not considered fashionable in Britain to know things or to talk about stuff. You should bear this in mind when visiting.
9I had a great deal of say, but the producer didn't have a great deal of listen.
10I think that Doctor Who (1963) is at its best when the humour and the drama work together and that however absurd a situation may be, it is actually very, very real and it has very real consequences. That's the moment at which something that's inherently absurd actually becomes frightening.
11The big corporations are suddenly taking notice of the web, and their reactions have been slow. Even the computer industry failed to see the importance of the Internet, but that's not saying much. Let's face it, the computer industry failed to see that the century would end.
12See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that.
13Having been an English literary graduate, I've been trying to avoid the idea of doing art ever since. I think the idea of art kills creativity. I think media are at their most interesting before anybody's thought of calling them art, when people still think they're just a load of junk.
14There are two things in particular that it [the computer industry] failed to foresee: one was the coming of the Internet . . . the other was the fact that the century would end.
15Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash form point B to point A very fast. People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there, and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there. They often wish that people would just once and for all decide where the hell they wanted to be.
16One of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them: It is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. Anyone who is capable of getting themselves into a position of power should on no account be allowed to do the job. Another problem with governing people is people.
17I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies: 1. Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. 2. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
18We notice things that don't work. We don't notice things that do. We notice computers, we don't notice pennies. We notice e-book readers, we don't notice books.
19There is a particular disdain with which Siamese cats regard you. Anyone who has walked in on the Queen cleaning her teeth will be familiar with the feeling.
20I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.
21Cyberspace is - or can be - a good, friendly and egalitarian place to meet.
22Even he, to whom most things that most people would think were pretty smart were pretty dumb, thought it was pretty smart.
23Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
24Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
25A danger one runs is that the moment you have anything in the script that's clearly meant to be funny in some way, everybody thinks 'oh well we can do silly voices and silly walks and so on', and I think that's exactly the wrong way to do it.
26When it comes down to it, my principle is this - Arthur should be British. The rest of the cast should be decided purely on merit and not on nationality.
27I loved Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969). For years I wanted to be John Cleese, I was most disapointed when I found out the job had been taken.
28[agreeing that Starship Titanic (1998) should be delayed rather than released incomplete] We should nail our colors to the mast of quality.
29I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
30[11/8/00] I think that growing up in a crowded continent like Europe with an awful lot of competing claims, ideas . . . cultures . . . and systems of thought we have, perforce, developed a more sophisticated notion of what the word freedom means than I see much evidence of in America. To be frank, it sometimes seems that the American idea of freedom has more to do with my freedom to do what I want than your freedom to do what you want. I think that in Europe we're probably better at understanding how to balance those competing claims, though not a lot.
31[on BBC Online chat, 11/8/00] I'm 48, which is a bit of a shock to me. Why only last year I thought I was a precocious young thing!

#Trademark
1Towering height
2Using science fiction as satire
342 - the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.


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