Life and Family
Sturgeon was a distant relative of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and through his Waldo, Hamilton Dicker and Dunn ancestors, a direct descendant of numerous influential Puritan, Presbyterian, and Anglican clergymen. Both Sturgeon and his brother Peter eventually became atheists, although Sturgeon continuously developed his own highly imaginative spiritual side. If Sturgeon was aware of much of his ancestry or stories associated with it, he never shared them with his friends or children, although the short "I Say—Ernest" (1972) does bring to life one wing of his ministerial family.
- Sturgeon's sibling, Peter Sturgeon, wrote technical material for the pharmaceutical industry and eventually for the WHO, has been credited with bringing Mensa to the United States.
- Peter and Theodore's birth father, Edward Waldo, was a color and dye manufacturer of middling success. With his second wife, Anne, he had one daughter, Joan.
- Peter and Theodore's mother, Christine Hamilton Dicker (Waldo) Sturgeon, was a well-educated writer, watercolorist, and poet who published journalism, poetry, and fiction under the name Felix Sturgeon.
- Their stepfather, William Dickie Sturgeon (sometimes known as Argyll), was a mathematics teacher at a prep school and then Romance Languages Professor at Drexel Institute in Philadelphia.
Sturgeon held a wide variety of jobs during his lifetime.
- As an adolescent, he wanted to be a circus acrobat; an episode of rheumatic fever prevented him from pursuing this.
- From 1935 (aged 17) to 1938, he was a sailor in the merchant marine, and elements of that experience found their way into several stories.
- He sold refrigerators door to door.
- He managed a hotel in Jamaica around 1940–1941, worked in several construction and infrastructure jobs (driving a bulldozer in Puerto Rico, operating a gas station and truck lubrication center, work at a drydock) for the US Army in the early war years, and by 1944 was an advertising copywriter.
- In addition to freelance fiction and television writing, he also operated a literary agency (which was eventually transferred to Scott Meredith), worked for Fortune magazine and other Time Inc. properties on circulation, and edited various publications. Sturgeon had somewhat irregular output, frequently suffering from writer's block.
Theodore Sturgeon vividly recalled being in the same room with L. Ron Hubbard, when Hubbard became testy with someone there and retorted, "Y'know, we're all wasting our time writing this hack science fiction! You wanta make real money, you gotta start a religion!" Reportedly Sturgeon also told this story to others.
Sturgeon played guitar and wrote music which he sometimes performed at Science Fiction Conventions.
Sturgeon was married three times, had two long-term committed relationships outside of marriage, divorced once, and fathered a total of seven children.
- His first wife was Dorothe Fillingame (married 1940, divorced 1945) with whom he had two daughters, Patricia and Cynthia.
- He was married to singer Mary Mair from 1949 until an annulment in 1951.
- In 1953, he wed Marion McGahan with whom he had a son, Robin (b. 1952); daughters Tandy (b. 1954) and Noël (b. 1956); and son Timothy (b. 1960).
- In 1969, he began living with Wina Golden, a journalist, with whom he had a son, Andros.
- Finally, his last long-term committed relationship was with writer and educator Jayne Engelhart Tannehill, with whom he remained until the time of his death.
Sturgeon was a lifelong pipe smoker. His death from lung fibrosis may have been caused by exposure to asbestos during his Merchant Marine years.
Read more about this topic: Theodore Sturgeon
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