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    Keillor, Garrison (7th August 1942-Present)

    He is an author, humorist, radio personality and storyteller born Garrison Edward Keillor in Anoke, Minnesota wo a family where his father was a postal worker and carpenter.

     

    He took his further education at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with an English degree.  During his time at the university he worked at the student’s radio station, Radio K, which is where his career as a broadcaster began.

     

    In 1965 he married Mary Guntzel and they later divorced in 1976.  1969 was a big year for him as not only was his son Jason born, but he began his career as a professional radio personality for Minnesota Educational Radio which later became Minnesota Public Media Radio.  He was the host of The Morning Program on KSJR 90.1 FM which was dubbed “A Prairie Home Entertainment”.  He was also working as an author at the same time and his fictional short story “Local Family Keeps Son Happy” was published in The New Yorker in 1970.

     

    In February 1971 he put in a protest against the programming of music at the radio station to the point that he played “Help Me, Rhonda” by The Beach Boys continually during one show and then resigned The Morning Program.   He returned to the show in October when it was renamed A Prairie Home Companion and over the next couple of years showcased many local musicians.

     

    In 1973 he wrote an article on the Grand Ole Opry for The New Yorker which gave him the idea of having a live show on a Saturday night and in August of that year it came to fruition when MER broadcast the variety show A Prairie Home Companion in July 1974 with live music, comedy sketches, parodies for which he often wrote or re-wrote the lyrics for and a live audience.   The show, which won a Peabody Award I 1980, ran until 1987 and included parody melodramatic series and a weekly fictional monologue by Garrison known as The News from Lake Wobegon.

     

    In 1985 he got married for a second time to Ulla Skaevard and they divorced in 1990.

     

    In 1987 he went to work on a new program called The American Radio Company of the Air which had a similar format to his previous show.  He ran this show for several years before returning to A Prairie Home Companion in 1993 which has carried on ever since, even though he takes no credit for it unless a guest mentions his name.  The show also tours all over the United States.

     

    1988 saw him winning a Grammy Award for the recording of his novel Lake Wobegon Days.

     

    In 1994 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 1995 he married his third wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, who is a violinist who hails from his hometown Anoka.  In 1997 they had their daughter Maia Grace.  In 1999 he was awarded a national Humanities Medal.

     

    When the new millennium came around he took the show to Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2000, where the show’s performance was broadcast by BBC radio.  For the show’s 25th anniversary he returned to Scotland for a tour.

     

    In 2001 he had heart surgery following which he stopped working on an advice column he had written for several years for Salon.com where he was known as Mr. Blue.  In 2004, however, he did publish a collection of essays called Homegrown Democrat and returned to Salon.com in 2005 to write another regular column known as “The Old Scout”.

     

    His screenplay for A Prairie Home Companion was filmed by Robert Altman in 2006, with him also appearing and he also opened an independent bookstore.  The following year he was presented with the Steinbeck Award and in 2008 he broadcast at the Oregon Bach Festival.  The following year he suffered a minor stroke which only kept him away from work for a few days. In 2010 he stopped writing “The Old Scout” for a while so he could concentrate on a novel and a screenplay.

     

    Curiously in 2011 he announced his retirement at an interview as of 2013, but in another interview a few months later he said he had no plans to retire as he loved what he did.

     

    As an author he has written over a dozen books as well as submitting countless articles for newspapers and magazines.  In recent years he has also hosted The Writer’s Almanac and worked as a voice actor on several films and advertisements.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/about/
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrison_Keillor
    3. http://www.biography.com/people/garrison-keillor-9361805
    4. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0445087/bio
    5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/mar/06/featuresreviews.guardianreview14
    6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Prairie_Home_Companion
    7. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0445087/
    8. http://www.salon.com/writer/garrison_keillor/

     

     

     



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