February 10, 1992
'Roots' Author Alex Haley Dies at Age 70
Alex Haley spent 20 years in the Coast Guard before beginning a second career as a writer and editor. His most famous work was Roots, a fictionalized, but fact-based, version of his family history tracing back to a Gambian youth named Kunte Kinte, Haley's first slave ancestor. A 12-hour TV miniseries based on the best-selling book set ratings records.
Among Haley's other endeavors, he authored The Autobiography of Malcolm X, based on interviews Haley conducted as an editor at Playboy magazine. Alex Haley died on this date in 1992, and is buried at his boyhood home in Henning, Tenn. (Haley was born in Ithaca, N.Y. on Aug. 11, 1921 but the family soon moved to Tennessee, the state Haley came to consider home.)