The light in the attic has gone out. Veteran cartoonist, author, and songwriter Shel Silverstein was found dead in his home in Key West, Florida, on Monday after suffering a heart attack. He was 66 years old.Silverstein was born in Chicago on September 25, 1932, and is probably best known as the author of the classic children’s books “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Light in the Attic.” Silverstein began his career as a cartoonist for the military publication “Star and Stripes,” and later “Playboy” magazine, in the 1950s. He then began writing and illustrating a number of highly popular children’s books during the ’60s, the most famous of which, “The Giving Tree,” has been in print for the past 35 years. In 1969, Silverstein wrote a number two hit for country legend Johnny Cash, entitled “A Boy Named Sue,” and in the early ’70s, he followed it up with two more Top 10 hits, “Sylvia’s Mother” and “The Cover of the Rolling Stone,” both of which were recorded by Dr. Hook
and the Medicine Show. Silverstein also released several highly acclaimed albums in his own right, including “Inside Folk Songs” in 1962 and “The Great Conch Train Robbery” in 1979. In 1991, Silverstein was nominated for an Academy Award for his song “I’m Checkin’ Out,” which was featured in the Meryl Streep movie, “Postcards from the Edge.” Silverstein also composed “One’s On the Way,” a song included on the soundtrack to the 1980 Loretta Lynn bio-flick, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Silverstein’s most recent collection of drawings and poems, “Falling Up,” was published in 1996.