Daniel Keyes, 'Flowers for Algernon' Author, Dies at 86

Cliff Robertson in 1968's "Charlie."
Cliff Robertson in 1968's "Charlie."
 Everett Collection

Daniel Keyes, the author whose novel Flowers for Algernon was turned into an Oscar-winning film, died Sunday at the age of 86. He died from complications of pneumonia, his daughter Leslie told The New York Times.

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Keyes published the novella Flowers for Algernon in 1959. He turned the story, which centers on a low-IQ man who becomes a genius, into a novel in 1966. It tied for the Nebula Awards' novel of the year and went on to sell 5 million copies.

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The film adaptation, Charly, earned star Cliff Robertson a best actor Oscar in 1968.

Keyes was born Aug. 9, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York. His other works include the 1981 novel The Minds of Billy Milligan, about a criminal with multiple personalities, and the 1999 memoir Algernon, Charlie and I.

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He is survived by his daughters, Leslie and Hillary Keyes, as well as a sister, Gail Marcus.

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