EXPIRED: 09/11/09 – Jim Carroll, 60, poet, addict, author of autobio “The Basketball Diaries”. A fixture of NYC’s punk scene, which took the lives of many of his friends, his biggest hit was about those who passed before him. I salute you, brother.
He died from a heart attack at his home in Manhattan, his ex-wife Rosemary Carroll told the New York Times.
In the 1970s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene, where he mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe. His life was shaped by drug use, which he wrote about extensively.
Patti Smith who encouraged his music, and he formed the Jim Carroll Band. His 1980 debut, “Catholic Boy,” has been hailed as a landmark punk record, and he became known for one of its songs, “People Who Died.” Among his other albums were the less successful “Dry Dreams” (1982) and “I Write Your Name” (1984).
But it was “The Basketball Diaries,” his autobiographical tale of life as a sports star at Trinity, an elite private high school in Manhattan, that brought him his widest audience. The son of a bar owner, Carroll attended the school on a basketball scholarship.
The book, which began life as a journal, was first published in 1978 and then became even more popular, particularly on college campuses, when it was issued as a mass-market paperback two years later. A 1995 movie version starred Leonardo DiCaprio.
His poetry career started even earlier. Carroll was in his teens when he first received recognition for his poems, especially “Organic Trains” in 1967 and then “4 Ups and 1 Down” in 1970. Among his other works are collections such as “The Book of Nods” (1986), “Fear of Dreaming” (1993) and “Void of course: Poems 1994-1997″ (1998).
Carroll left New York in 1973 and moved to California, where he met his future wife Rosemary Klemfuss. They later divorced. He was found living in the same building he had grown up in in NYC, writing, in a one bedroom apartment. Most of his things were still in boxes. He hadn’t bothered to unpack. It didn’t look like he intended to stay very long.