Jim Carroll

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Jim Carroll
Jim Carroll - Seattle WA - September 2000 - Photo by Eric Thompson.jpg
Carroll in Seattle in 2000
James Dennis Carroll

(1949-08-01)August 1, 1949
Manhattan, New York, United States
DiedSeptember 11, 2009(2009-09-11) (aged 60)
Manhattan, New York, United States
OccupationAuthor, poet, musician
Years active1967–2009
Known for The Basketball Diaries
Jim Carroll in New York City (2005) Jim Carroll, Author.jpg
Jim Carroll in New York City (2005)

James Dennis Carroll (August 1, 1949 [1] – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries ; the book inspired a 1995 film of the same title that starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels and other informal channels.

<i>The Basketball Diaries</i> book by Jim Carroll

The Basketball Diaries is a 1978 memoir written by author and musician Jim Carroll. It is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of twelve and sixteen. Set in New York City, they detail his daily life, sexual experiences, high school basketball career, Cold War paranoia, the counter-culture movement, and, especially, his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13.

<i>The Basketball Diaries</i> (film) 1995 film by Scott Kalvert

The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American biographical crime drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, produced by Liz Heller and John Bard Manulis, and written by Bryan Goluboff. This drama is based around an autobiographical novel by the same name, written by Jim Carroll. The Basketball Diaries is about addiction to drugs. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the main character Jim Carroll in the film, with Bruno Kirby, Lorraine Bracco, Ernie Hudson, Patrick McGaw, James Madio, Michael Imperioli and Mark Wahlberg in supporting roles.



Carroll was born to a working-class family of Irish descent, and grew up in New York City's Lower East Side. When he was about 11 (in the sixth grade) his family moved north to Inwood in Upper Manhattan. He was taught by the LaSalle Christian Brothers, and his brother in the sixth grade noted that he could write and encouraged him to do so. In fall 1963, he entered public school, but was soon awarded a scholarship to the elite Trinity School. [2] He attended Trinity from 1964 to 1968. Carroll was a basketball star in high school, but also developed an addiction to heroin. [3] Carroll became sober in the 1970s. [3]

Lower East Side Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

The Lower East Side, sometimes abbreviated as LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan, roughly located between the Bowery and the East River, and Canal Street and Houston Street. Traditionally an immigrant, working class neighborhood, it began rapid gentrification in the mid-2000s, prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America's Most Endangered Places.

Inwood, Manhattan Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

Inwood is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, at the northern tip of Manhattan Island, in the U.S. state of New York. It is bounded by the Hudson River to the west, Spuyten Duyvil Creek and Marble Hill to the north, the Harlem River to the east, and Washington Heights to the south.

Trinity School (New York City) independent school in New York City

Trinity School is a highly selective independent, preparatory, co-educational day school for grades K-12 located in New York City, USA, and a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. Founded in 1709 in the old Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street, the school is the fifth oldest in the United States and the oldest continually operational school in New York City.

He briefly attended Wagner College and Columbia University. [4]

Wagner College private college in Staten Island, New York, United States

Wagner College is a private liberal arts college in New York City. Founded in 1883 and with a current enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Wagner is known for its academic program, the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts. The college is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Columbia University Private Ivy League research university in New York City

Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. It has been ranked by numerous major education publications as among the top ten universities in the world.

Carroll identified Rainer Maria Rilke, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler, [5] Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs as influences on his artistic career. [6]

Rainer Maria Rilke Austrian poet and writer

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke, better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets". He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several critics have described Rilke's work as inherently "mystical". His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence in which he invokes haunting images that focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and profound anxiety. These deeply existential themes tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist writers.

Frank OHara American poet, art critic and writer

Francis Russell "Frank" O'Hara was an American writer, poet, and art critic. Because of his employment as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, O'Hara became prominent in New York City's art world. O'Hara is regarded as a leading figure in the New York School—an informal group of artists, writers, and musicians who drew inspiration from jazz, surrealism, abstract expressionism, action painting, and contemporary avant-garde art movements.

John Ashbery poet from the United States

John Lawrence Ashbery was an American poet. He published more than twenty volumes of poetry and won nearly every major American award for poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Renowned for its postmodern complexity and opacity, Ashbery's work still proves controversial. Ashbery stated that he wished his work to be accessible to as many people as possible, and not to be a private dialogue with himself. At the same time, he once joked that some critics still view him as "a harebrained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism."

Carroll's marriage to Rosemary Klemfuss Carroll ended in divorce, but the two remained friends. He also dated Patti Smith. [3]

Patti Smith American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist

Patricia Lee Smith is an American singer-songwriter who became an influential component of the New York City punk rock movement with her 1975 debut album Horses.

Literary career

While still in high school, Carroll published his first collection of poems, Organic Trains. Already attracting the attention of the local literati, his work began appearing in the Poetry Project's magazine The World in 1967. Soon his work was being published in elite literary magazines like Paris Review in 1968, [2] and Poetry the following year. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol's Theater. Carroll's first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living at the Movies, was published in 1973. [7]

<i>Poetry</i> (magazine) poetry journal of Chicago, USA

Poetry, has been published in Chicago since 1912. It is one of the leading monthly poetry journals in the English-speaking world. Founded by Harriet Monroe and now published by the Poetry Foundation, it is currently edited by Don Share. In 2007 the magazine had a circulation of 30,000, and printed 300 poems per year out of approximately 100,000 submissions. It is sometimes referred to as Poetry—Chicago.

Andy Warhol American artist

Andy Warhol was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell's Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental film Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67).

In 1978, Carroll published The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical book concerning his life as a teenager in New York City's hard drug culture. Diaries is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of 12 and 16, detailing his sexual experiences, high school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13.

In 1987, Carroll wrote a second memoir, Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971–1973, continuing his autobiography into his early adulthood in the New York City music and art scene as well as his struggle to kick his drug habit.

After working as a musician, Carroll returned to writing full-time in the mid-1980s and began to appear regularly on the spoken-word circuit. Starting in 1991, Carroll performed readings from his then-in-progress first novel, The Petting Zoo. [8]

In 1995, Canadian filmmaker John L'Ecuyer adapted "Curtis's Charm", a short story from Carroll's 1993 book Fear of Dreaming, into the film Curtis's Charm . [9]

Music career

In 1978, after he moved to California to get a fresh start since overcoming his heroin addiction, Carroll formed The Jim Carroll Band, a new wave/punk rock group, with encouragement from Patti Smith, with whom he once shared an apartment in New York City, along with Robert Mapplethorpe. [10] He performed a spoken word piece with the Patti Smith Group in San Diego when the support band dropped out at the last moment. The band was originally called Amsterdam, where they originally formed and were based in Bolinas, California. The musicians were Steve Linsley (bass), Wayne Woods (drums), Brian Linsley and Terrell Winn (guitars). They released a single "People Who Died", from their 1980 debut album, Catholic Boy . The album featured contributions from Allen Lanier and Bobby Keys.

The song also appeared in the 1985 Kim Richards vehicle Tuff Turf starring James Spader and Robert Downey Jr., which also featured a cameo appearance by the band, as well as 2004's Dawn of the Dead , and in the 2015 Mr. Robot S1 E10. It was featured in the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries (based on Jim Carroll's autobiography), and was covered by John Cale on his Antártida soundtrack. The song's title was based on a poem by Ted Berrigan. [11] Later albums were Dry Dreams (1982) and I Write Your Name (1983), both with contributions from Lenny Kaye and Paul Sanchez (guitar). Carroll also collaborated with musicians Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Boz Scaggs, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and Rancid.


Carroll, 60, died of a heart attack at his Manhattan home on September 11, 2009. At the time of his death, he was in ill health due to pneumonia and hepatitis C. [1] He was reportedly working at his desk when he died. [12]

His funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Pompeii Roman Catholic Church on Carmine St. in Greenwich Village.






Spoken word


Compilations and soundtracks

See also

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  1. 1 2 Grimes, William (September 13, 2009). "Jim Carroll, Poet and Punk Rocker, Is Dead at 60". The New York Times . Retrieved December 18, 2012.(subscription required)
  2. 1 2 Mallon, Thomas (December 6, 2010). "Off the Rim: Jim Carroll's "The Petting Zoo"". The New Yorker . Condé Nast: 90–93. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 Williams, Alex (September 25, 2009). "The Last Days of Jim Carroll". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. "Jim Carroll: author of The Basketball Diaries", The Times , September 15, 2009, retrieved March 25, 2010
  5. O'Hehir, Andrew (April 12, 1995). "A Poet Half-Devoured – Jim Carroll Feature Articles". CatholicBoy.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  6. Goldman, Marlene (January 8, 1999). "Mercury Rising (1999) – Jim Carroll Interviews". CatholicBoy.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  7. "Living at the Movies, First Edition - Books by Jim Carroll - CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  8. Woo, Elaine (September 14, 2009). "Jim Carroll dies at 60; poet and punk rocker wrote about travails in 'The Basketball Diaries'". latimes.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  9. "The romance of junkie paranoia". The Globe and Mail , September 14, 1995.
  10. Smith, Patti (2010). Just Kids . New York: HarperCollins. pp. 162–164, 166–167. ISBN   978-0-06-093622-8.
  11. MacAdams, Lewis (September 16, 2009). "Remembering Jim Carroll". The Los Angeles Times . Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  12. "CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  13. "CatholicBoy.com". Catholicboy.com. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  14. "Edelweiss". Edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  15. allmusic - Pools Of Mercury 1998 CD
  16. cduniverse - Pools Of Mercury 1998 CD
  17. allmusic Pools Of Mercury 2012 Digital Download
  18. cduniverse - Praying Mantis 2008 reissue