Joseph Heller

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Brooklyn, New York
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Brooklyn, New York

Joseph Heller was an American satirist, short story writer, and playwright best known for his anti-war novel Catch-22. YOSSARIAN, a darkly humorous antihero, It is a humorous look at war, bureaucracy, and the frustrating logic or lack thereof. His sensible attitude to war was cowardice, not valor or heroism. The book was published in 1961 to mixed reviews, but gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s during the Vietnam War. He was frequently likened to authors like Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, and Philip Roth. Heller published the book “Orr was insane to fly additional missions, but sane and had to”. These lines typified the English phrase Catch-22, which alludes to “ridiculous arrangement that puts someone in a knot. Heller also created short stories, plays, screenplays, and a memoir, Now and Then.

Early Childhood of Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller was born in Coney Island, New York, on May 1, 1923, to Lena and Isaac Donald Heller.
His father died in 1929, just before he started school at Coney Island’s Public School No. 188. His mother couldn’t speak English and the family was poor.

A Career of Joseph Heller

After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller worked as an insurance file clerk, apprenticed as a blacksmith, and attended a cadet school.

He joined a squadron in Corsica as a first lieutenant after graduating from cadet training early in 1944.
On his 37th mission, an attack on Avignon on the Rhone River in southeast France, he realized he was flying into danger. That changed the young lieutenant’s war.

With his honorable release, he earned an Air Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation for sixty missions in the Mediterranean. In 1945, he enrolled at USC.
He earned a B.A. in 1948 from New York University, an M.A. in American Literature from Columbia University, and a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year at Oxford University.

After a brief spell at Penn State, Heller joined Time magazine as advertising manager. In 1953, he started writing a novel named Catch-18.
He penned ‘We Bombed New Haven’ in 1969. It was anti-war while discussing Vietnam. The Yale Drama School Repertory Company presented it.

It was followed in 1974 by ‘Something Happened.’ Bob Slocum, the primary character and narrator, tells a story about himself and his psyche.
In his 1979 novel ‘Good as Gold,’ Bruce Gold, a Jewish middle-aged university English professor, is given the position of the country’s first Jewish Secretary of State.

Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer, by Rembrandt, is the unifying theme of the 1988 novel ‘Picture This’.
With Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder returning from the initial novel, Joey, a new character and the author shared commonalities in his 1994 sequel ‘Closing Time’.

In 1998, he published ‘Now and Then’. Heller remembers growing up on Coney Island with his mother and half-siblings in a safe and pleasant environment.

Contrary to popular belief, the writer did not plagiarize Catch-22, despite striking parallels to Louis Falstein’s work ‘The Sky is a Lonely Place in Britain’.
His final novel, ‘Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man,’ depicts an elderly author trying to write a novel that matches the success of his earlier work.

Grandiose of Joseph Heller

In his 1961 novel ‘Catch-22,’ Heller portrays Army Air Corps Captain John Yossarian’s multiple failed attempts to evade combat missions. ‘No Laughing Matter,’ co-authored by Heller and Speed Vogel, sold 10 million copies in the US. The novel is full of comedy and devoid of self-pity, despite Heller’s struggle with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Personal Legacy of Joseph Heller

Heller had two children with Shirley Held, Erica Jill and Theodore Michael.He was diagnosed with GBS in 1981. He divorced Shirley and married Valerie Humphries in 1987.

He died of a heart attack on Long Island on December 12, 1999. “Oh, God, how dreadful,” Kurt Vonnegut commented upon hearing of Heller’s death. A tragedy for American literature.

Estimated Net Worth

Joseph is one of the wealthiest and most popular Novelist. Joseph Heller net worth is estimated at $1.5 Million by Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


“Some men are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity, and some have mediocrity foisted upon them,” said this great writer.