He was born Ray Douglas Bradbury on 22 August 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois, and used the town as the model for idyllic communities throughout his writing career. After moving to Los Angeles, he was introduced to the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society by Forrest J. Ackerman. As an amateur he contributed to fanzines, then launched Futuria Fantasia at age 19. He made his first short story sale in 1941 and became a full time writer. His first collection was published in 1947.
In 1950 The Martian Chronicles (AKA The Silver Locusts) was published, a collection of his Mars short stories. This was adapted into a miniseries by NBC in 1979, but delayed for a year after Bradbury himself called it boring. His short story The Fog Horn was adapted into The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). Along with the 1967 movie of his novel Fahrenheit 451, this cemented Bradbury as a science fiction writer, a term he rejected.
Apart from his novels and short stories, Bradbury wrote children's literature (Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree) and non fiction. He adapted many of his works into plays. In the early 1950s he found his works being turned into comics by EC, and surprised the company by giving them his authorisation for a peppercorn payment.
Bradbury's single most famous short story was probably A Sound of Thunder, the tale of time travelling dinosaur hunters on safari. One inadvertently steps on a butterfly and the tour find the future has changed when they return. This led to such a change being termed a Butterfly Effect, and has been adapted into a film and an episode of The Simpsons. The Simpsons also gave this dubious tribute to Bradbury:
Martin: As your president, I would demand a science-fiction library, featuring an ABC of the overlords of the genre: Asimov, Bester, Clarke!
Wendell: What about Ray Bradbury?
Martin: (dismissively) I'm *aware* of his work.
Bradbury remained active and was often asked to give speeches to high schools. He was a guest at conventions until 2009. His wife Marguerite died in 2003. He died at home on 5 June 2012 after an illness, a statement from Bradbury’s grandson, Danny Karapetian, said that his legacy would live on in his work.