Monday, September 10, 2012

The Short, Horrible Life of William Burroughs, Jr.

(William S. Burroughs Jr.)

Reading the blog Sioux Division, I found an 8-minute film clip that included interviews with William Burroughs Sr., the junkie and Beat writer, and his son Billy Burroughs, who died of liver cirrhosis at the age of 33 in 1981.

Billy Burroughs was born to Joan Vollmer Burroughs in 1947, when his mother was addicted to benzedrine inhalers. Joan was killed in Mexico by William Sr. in 1951 when he shot her in the head, acting out a bit from William Tell.

Billy Burroughs' body of work included two published novels, "Speed" and "Kentucky Ham," and a posthumoius compilation of journal entries and novel fragments. In his short, tortured life, he was a speed addict and an alcoholic, and spent some time in jail. Befre he died, he wrote an article for Esquire, attacking his father, leading to a final rift.

Here is the original Sioux Division link:

The author of the blog excoriates William Sr. for the dreadful treatment of his son. He also notes that Allen Ginsberg and other writer friends of William Sr. tried to molest William Jr. when he was a 13-year-old living with his father in Tangiers.

The video segment comes from the documentary Burroughs, about William Burroughs Sr. With a father like William Sr., Billy Burroughs didn't have a chance.

Here is William Burroughs Jr.'s Wikipedia entry:

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