Kenneth Elton 'Ken' Kesey (September 17, 1935--November 10, 2001) was an American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. 'I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie,' Kesey said in a 1999 interview with Robert K. Elder. Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado, to dairy farmers Frederick A. Kesey and Geneva (Smith). In 1946, the family moved to Springfield, Oregon. Kesey was a champion wrestler in both high school and college in the 174 pound weight division, and he almost qualified to be on the Olympic team until a serious shoulder injury stopped his wrestling career. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1953.
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