Maurice Sendak, children's book author and illustrator, most well known for Where the Wild Things Are, died early Tuesday in Connecticut from complications of a recent stroke. He was 83.
Sendak had an illustrious career as one of the most successful children’s book artists of the 20th century. Where the Wild Things Are earned Sendak a Caldecott Medal for the best children's book of 1964 and became a movie in 2009. President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak a National Medal of the Arts in 1996 for his vast portfolio of work.
Other titles that Sendak wrote and illustrated, all from Harper & Row, include In the Night Kitchen (1970) and Outside Over There (1981), which together with Where the Wild Things Are form a trilogy; The Sign on Rosie’s Door (1960) and Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967).
Sendak also made forays into theater and television in his long career. He created costumes for ballets and staged operas, including the Czech opera "Brundibar," which he also wrote with collaborator Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner in 2003. He also served as producer of various animated TV series based on his illustrations, including "Seven Little Monsters," ''George and Martha" and "Little Bear."
His art has graced the writing of other eminent authors for children and adults, including Hans Christian Andersen, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, William Blake and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Sendak has said that he is most proud of his book Brundibar, a folk tale about two children who need to earn money to buy milk for their sick mother, written when he was 75.
Sendak’s most recent book, Bumbly-Ardy, which was published in September, spent five weeks on the New York Times children’s bestseller list. A final, posthumous picture book, My Brother’s Book, is scheduled to be published in February 2013.
Sendak’s companion of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of young people, died in 2007. No immediate family members survive.