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James Dennis "Jim" Carroll (August 1, 1949 – September 11, 2009) was an American author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which was made into the 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.
Carroll was born to a working-class family of Irish descent, and grew up on New York's Lower East Side, and when he was about eleven (in the sixth grade) his family moved north to Inwood in Upper Manhattan where he attended Good Shepherd School.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. He attended Trinity from 1964-1968.
Apart from being interested in writing, Carroll was an all-star basketball player throughout his grade school and high school career. He entered the "Biddy League" at age 13 and participated in the National High School All Star Game in 1966. During this time, Carroll was living a double life as a heroin addict who prostituted himself to afford his habit but he was also writing poemsand attending poetry workshops at St. Mark's Poetry Project.
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, 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.
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 twelve and sixteen, 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 entitled 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.
In 1978, after he moved to California to get a fresh start since kicking 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. The band was originally called Amsterdam, and was based in the San Francisco Bay Area. 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. In 1982 the song appeared in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, from which Carroll received royalties until his death in 2009. 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. 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. A condensed, 2-minute, version of the song was made into an animated music video by Daniel D. Cooper, an independent filmmaker/animator, in 2010. The song's title was based on a poem by Ted Berrigan. Later albums were Dry Dreams (1982) and I Write Your Name(1983), both with contributions from Lenny Kaye and Paul Sanchez. Carroll also collaborated with musicians Lou Reed, Blue Öyster Cult, Boz Scaggs, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra and Rancid.
His funeral Mass was held at Our Lady of Pompeii Roman Catholic Church on Carmine St. in Greenwich Village.
- 4 Ups and 1 Down (1970)
- Living at the Movies (1973)
- The Book of Nods (1986)
- Fear of Dreaming (1993)
- Void of Course: Poems 1994-1997 (1998) ISBN 0-14-058909-0
- The Basketball Diaries (1978)
- Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971-1973 (1987)
- The Petting Zoo (2010)
- Catholic Boy (1980)
- Dry Dreams (1982)
- I Write Your Name (1983)
- A World Without Gravity: Best of The Jim Carroll Band (1993)
- Pools of Mercury (1998)
- Runaway EP (2000)
- Club Ninja, Blue Öyster Cult (1986)
- Other Roads, Boz Scaggs (1988)
- Between Thought and Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology, Lou Reed (1992)
- ...And Out Come the Wolves, Rancid (1995)
- Catholic Boy, [Pearl Jam] (1995)
- Feeling You Up, Truly (1997)
- Yes I Ram, Jon Tiven Group (1999)
- E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Soundtrack (1982)
- Tuff Turf Soundtrack (1985)
- Back to the Streets: Celebrating the Music of Don Covay (1993)
- Sedated in the Eighties (1993)
- New Wave Dance Hits: Just Can't Get Enough, Vol. 6 (1994)
- The Basketball Diaries (soundtrack) (1995)
- Put Your Tongue to the Rail: The Philly Comp for Catholic Children (Songs of the Jim Carroll Band) (1999)
- WBCN Naked 2000 (2000)
- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
- The Darwin Awards (2005)