March 20, 1964

Brendan Behan, the Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright, died at just 41 years old on this day in 1964. Born into an educated working class family in Dublin, Behan left school at 13 to follow in his father’s footsteps as a house painter, and at 16 joined the IRA. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison after he attempted to murder two detectives of the Garda Siochana. After his release, he began a career in writing, which brought him a considerable amount of fame, and led to his forging a friendship with actor Jackie Gleason.

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