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Subject: Archive: Christy Brown, Sept. 7, 1981


Author:
Wrote "My Left Foot"
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Date Posted: Thursday, September 07, 12:35:27pm

CHRISTY BROWN, AUTHOR, DIES; CRIPPLED, HE WROTE WITH TOE
By C. GERALD FRASER
Published: September 8, 1981


Christy Brown, the crippled Irish author who wrote by typing with the little toe of his left foot, choked to death Sunday while having dinner at home in Parbrook, a village in Somerset, in western England. He was 49 years old.

Mr. Brown wrote his first book, ''My Left Foot,'' in 1954. His autobiographical novel, ''Down All the Days,'' was written in 1970 and was translated into 14 languages. It told of the subculture of Kimmage, a working-class Dublin suburb in whi ch Mr. Brown grew up, and earned him $370,000. His most recent work s were ''Shadow on Summer'' and a collection of poems, ''Backgro und Music.''

Mr. Brown was a victim of cerebral palsy. In his early years he could not stand, walk, feed himself or drink. His speech consisted largely of grunts understood by his family and close friends. He could not control any part of his body except his left foot. He would jerk and shake and often slaver. 'The Urge to Write'

His mother, who had 22 children, of whom 13 survived, refused to put him in an institution. She taught him to write, and he learned to read and paint - holding a paint brush with the toes of his left foot. Robert Collis, a Dublin physician who specialized in cerebral palsy, encouraged Mr. Brown to write.

''From very early on I had the urge to write,'' Mr. Brown said. ''As far back as I can remember I was always writing bits and pieces - poems, short stories, essays.
That was my release. My brothers got it kicking football or loving women, but I had to compensate for being handicapped, and the only way I could do it was to put my thoughts down on paper.''

David Farrar, Mr. Brown's editor for 24 years, said: ''His courage was quite amnazing. He went far beyond what doctors thought he could do.''

After the death of his mother in 1968, he was taken care of by his sister Ann. In 1972, Mr. Brown married Mary Carr, whom he had met on a David Frost television show.

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Of course by the end of the decade (the 80s), actor Daniel Day-Lewis earned his Oscar for his portrayal of the troubled Irish artist.Artist Christy Brown never saw the biopic done of his life. Brown died 7 years before the premiere.Thursday, September 07, 07:01:02pm


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