Writer, born in New York City, New York, USA. He graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy (1936) and studied at New York University, Ursinus College, and Columbia University. He began to write when young, worked as an entertainer on a cruise ship (1941), served in the army (1942-6), and began to publish short stories. The Catcher in the Rye (1951), his first and only novel, was an immediate success, generating a cult-like dedication among many readers.
His subsequent collections of short stories, many of which first appeared in the New Yorker, such as Franny and Zooey (1961) and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963), raised more speculation about the elusive writer. Critics have been puzzled by his work – he is considered to be either too intellectual or too sentimental, a supreme stylist or a didactic practitioner of self-absorbed musings. He also became something of a media preoccupation by virtue of his becoming a recluse for most of his adult life. About all that has ever been known of his personal life is that he lived and wrote in Cornish, NH. He allowed publication of Hapworth 16, 1924 (first published in 1965) as a novella in 1997.