Adams was born in Cambridge, England, in 1952. As a teenager he was already being noticed for his writing ability. During this time he was awarded a 10 out of 10 by professor Halford, making him the only student ever to receive a perfect score from this teacher. In 1974 he graduated with a BA in English Literature.
He moved to London after university in the hope of becoming a radio and TV writer. His first success was when he came to the attention of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. He performed and wrote for Python whilst making ends meet doing various jobs, including as a bodyguard for a rich oil family.
Lack of success in writing affected his confidence greatly. But perseverance finally payed off with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio show, after which he was made a producer at the BBC. He only stayed in this role for six months before becoming the script editor for Doctor Who. He wrote three serials for the show during the Tom Baker period. Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen, originally intended for Doctor Who ended up in the Hitchhiker series as Life, the Universe and Everything.
In the following years the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” expanded to five books, a TV series, five radio series, a computer game, a much fought for movie, and numerous CD’s and special editions.
Another major success was the Dirk Gently series. Starting with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency followed by The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.
Now famous, Adams used his influence to champion the cause of endangered animals the world over. From gorilla’s in Africa to New Zealand’s native parrot the Kakapo. He produced a radio show Last Chance to See in conjunction with naturalist Mark Carwardine, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 1994 wearing a rhino suit in support of the Save the Rhino International organisation.
After a number of hiccups, Adams married Jane Belson in 1991, mentioned in his books as a “lady barrister”. They had a daughter, Polly Jane Rocket Adams
Tragically Douglas died unexpectedly of a heart attack on 11 May 2001, at the age of 49. Below is a fantastic documentary celebrating his life and achievements.
Life, The Universe and Douglas Adams. by Joel Greengrass and Rick Mueller. Greater Talent Network Inc., 2002