Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947, to Donald and Nellie Ruth King. King wrote his first short story before he was seven years old. As a teenager, he played on the football team and joined a rock band, but also had two of his short stories published. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he married Tabitha Spruce, also a writer, in 1971, and began a career as a teacher. His spare time was spent in writing novels that were consistently rejected by publishers. King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the first few chapters from the garbage after King had thrown them away in frustration. Three months later, he received a $2,500 advance from Doubleday Publishing for the book that went on to sell a modest 13,000 hardcover copies. That book, Carrie, was about a girl with telekinetic powers who is tormented by bullies at school. She uses her power, in turn, to torment and eventually destroy her mean-spirited classmates. When United Artists released the film version in 1976, it was a critical and commercial success. The paperback version of the book, released after the movie, went on to sell more than two-and-a-half million copies. Many of King's other horror novels have been adapted into movies, including The Shining, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Misery, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King has written the books The Running Man, The Regulators, Thinner, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and Rage. Today, Stephen King is one of the world's most successful writers, with more than 100 million copies of his works in print. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages, and he writes new books at a rate of about one per year. King and his wife have three children and live in the small town of Bangor, Maine, where many of his stories are set.